Revelation of Antichrist, Martin Luther, 1521

Excerpts From:
The Pope Confounded
His Kingdom Exposed
Revelation of Antichrist

By Martin Luther
A. D. 1521

Translated by The Rev. Henry Cole 1836

delineating the apostasy of the English Churches Rome-ward

“……[W]e shall not, we hope, be performing an altogether useless service in our day and generation, by offering to the friends of revealed truth, to the real patriots of Britain, to the reverers of the Scripture-founded institutions of their protestant ancestors, and to our enemies themselves, the following picture of the Great Whore of Churches and Kingdoms, delineated in revealed colours by that mighty antagonist of the Pope, and that honoured servant of God, Martin Luther.” [Rev. Cole then laments the apostate ecumenical condition of his beloved country and Church, citing Micah 7:2-3. The admission of the Whore into the counsels of the realm is contrary to the express command of God.] ……”The wolf is now in the fold. We are now fallen into the net of God’s righteous visitation…..Did [the ministers of God’s Word] with one voice cry aloud and show the people the transgression, and warn against it? Did those professing to hold that office show themselves watchmen? Did they testify from the word, of which they stood before the world as the ministers, God’s revealed will unto all nations concerning the GREAT WHORE of Churches and of Kingdoms?……No! not so! The majority of the Churches, of all denominations, who hold the profession and designation of evangelical, as self distinctive of a more exalted Gospel faith and practice, were the most prominent applauders, advisors, aiders and instigators of the sin!……..”

Cole Interprets MARK OF THE BEAST

“………And though such professing ministers and Churches deny the religious, or Church nature, of the insidious aims of the MOTHER OF HARLOTS, with reference to the realm of this land; and though they deny that the Scriptures contain any revealed command concerning these things; it might be well for them not to look with contempt upon the following and like portions of the Divine word: If any man shall worship the BEAST and his image, and receive his mark on his forehead, (openly profess its faith and doctrine); or in his hand, (secretly or covertly aid its pretensions); the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation: and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb, Rev. 14: 9-10.

Cole Laments Apostasy in the Church of England

“Nor does our Established Church present a condition of less degeneracy, nor a less abundant cause for lamentation and grief. In her were found, in her beginning, England’s principal witnesses for God, against the ABOMINATION of Rome…..But alas! How she is fallen from what she was when her founders, her members, and her servants of God, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, were her angels, Rev. 2:1, etc……What is there now to be seen in her but a rapid decline of spiritual worship and divine testimony, and as rapid a growth of carnality, formality and veniality in their stead?…..”

The Lord Never Without a Witness Against the Man of Sin

“God, however, has never left the earth without witness against this MAN OF SIN since the time of his being ‘revealed,’ 2 Thess. 2:3. Luther was especially distinguished and honoured of the Most High, and is beloved by all the Churches of Christ for the testimony which he bore. And every true witness for God has borne the same testimony from Huss, Luther, & etc., down to us. And the same true witnesses bore the same testimony when our land was precipitated thus, by misguided counsellors and false Churches, into her great transgression: and the same witnesses bare the same testimony and warning now, against all the multiplying deceptions and encroachments of this notorious ABOMINATION!

Cole and Other Witnesses Not Partakers of the Harlot’s Plagues

“Whatsoever, therefore, the iniquity or ignorance of statesmen, or the appalling faith and practice of professing Churches have done, are doing, or may do, to work their nation’s subjection to the righteous anger of the offended Majesty of heaven, God’s true witnesses and servants are clear from the blood of all men, and have peace in themselves. What consequences soever of the nation’s sin may fall upon her, they shall not be partakers of the ‘plagues’ that shall be the portion of those who have embraced the HARLOT. They know, and have obeyed the voice of warning and instruction, and of mercy which saith, Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her plagues, Rev. 18:4. They weep, they weep, they are afflicted: but they have the testimony of a good conscience and the approbation of heaven smiling thereon…….they worship God for the mercy of guiding them into the truth from sin and delusion; for giving them a satisfactory knowledge of, and a love and union with, the true Church of Christ…….”

“With these few prefatory reflections, arising out of the day and times of our land and nation, the Reader is now left to into that divine and remarkable testimony of Luther against the Papal Church and kingdom contained in the pages which follow….”

The Translator, June 18, 1836

Martin Luther’s Revelation of Antichrist

“……….I confess myself that I had not, at my beginning, clear views of the Indulgences, the Pope, the Roman Church, the Councils, the Universities, the Canons, & etc. And therefore, in my subsequent works, my Babylonish Captivity and my Declaration against the Bull, I have retracted what I advanced erroneously, from want of knowledge and experience, in my former works; and he that will, may read what I have there said. But, my friend, Catharinus, you are a day after the fair (as is the saying) in bringing those old matters forward. The question now is not, whether there is any Pope: if that be the question, that first part of subject inquiry is already answered and done with. We have, moreover, answered this question, ‘What is the Pope?’ We have concluded that ‘The Pope is ANTICHRIST.’ Out of this, therefore, flows a remaining and last subject of enquiry……..For the flame of my spirit having entered upon this third part, under (I believe) divine direction, has set fire to all the ordinances of the Pope, that very holy Father in Christ, that vice-god upon earth, and burnt them up as being the dogmas of ANTICHRIST……”

Luther refutes the Roman Catholic Church teaching that Peter is the rock upon which the Church of Christ is founded.

“………..I conclude, therefore, against thee….that the words of Christ, Matt. 16, refer to no person whatsoever, but to that CHURCH alone which is built in the SPIRIT upon the ROCK CHRIST, not upon the Pope, nor upon the Church of Rome. For, the moment you granted that the Pope was not sinless, that moment you conceded that he was neither the Rock nor the Church, but a sink of sin and a synagogue of Satan. …….And now we observe, in consequence, that as this Rock is sinless, invisible, spiritual, and seen only by faith; so, of necessity, this CHURCH is sinless, invisible, spiritual and seen only by faith: for the Foundation (as we say) must be of the same material, and of a piece with the Building. —— I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH: which faith is that which is not seen. Wherefore, that passage in St. Matthew, Thou art Peter, has not the least harmony or agreement with Popery or its visible Church: nay, it overturns it from the very foundation, and by the evidence proves it to be the synagogue of Satan………..the passage, Thou art Peter, was not spoken to Peter alone…..” [because the keys were given to all the Apostles, Matt. 18:18; John 20].

Luther’s View of the Church Fathers

“………But you [Catharinus] will say, ‘Do you not confess then that there was error among so many Fathers [in not rightly interpreting to whom Christ gave His keys]? I confess that, as men, they often erred; and I pardon, and carefully avoid, their errors. But as for you, like so many unclean beasts that neither part the hoof nor chew the cud, you swallow down everything; so that, though as good men they erred, as heretics you teach those errors. Error does not make a heretic, but the maintaining of that error in the face of conviction does. And here it is that the whole of your building falls to the ground: you depend more upon what the Fathers say than upon what Christ saith……Nay, you actually pass by those parts of the Fathers that are sound, and scrape together those that are erroneous — poor witless fool!………..I want none of the subtle distinctions and the idle dreams with which your whole book is crammed; I want the Scriptures, from whose authority, I am certain, you will bring nothing to support your heresy on this side of doomsday………”

Christ and Antichrist Contrasted

“………..Pope, the sinner, is a Minister of the Devil!

The Church of the Pope is the synagogue of Satan!

Christ, the Righteous, is King of Righteousness!

The Church of Christ is the Communion of the Saints!”

“……………..[Matthew 16 turned] against you has vanquished you utterly and triumphed over you! In so doing the whole fabric of your Papacy falls to the ground, and is shown to be nothing but a lie, and a deception imposed upon the world; you the mockers of the people of God, the perverters of the word of God, stand openly exposed in the sight of all men; and the decrees of the Papists are proved by the evidence to be the impious dogmas of ANTICHRIST! ….For now the curtain that hid your impieties is thus drawn aside, there is discovered errors, frauds, crimes of every iniquity, a very hell! – Which till now you had concealed behind this thin, futile fig-leaf – PAPACY! So that, in truth, the Papacy is, and can be, nothing else than that very kingdom of the notorious ANTICHRIST. For this is the reason why many who had worshipped this abomination standing in the holy place wondered how such monstrous iniquities could proceed from that seat which boasted of an administration so perfectly holy…….”

How Then is the Church Known?

“…….By what sign, then, shall I know the Church? For it is necessary that some visible sign should be given, in order that we might assemble together to hear the word of God. I answer — A sign is necessary, and that sign we have; viz. baptism, bread, (the breaking of bread) and above all, the Gospel. Wherever you see baptism, the bread, and the Gospel administered under the influence of the Holy Spirit, in whatever place, and among whatever persons it may be, there, to a certainty, is the Church; for it is by, and in these signs, that Christ will have us unite; as he saith Ephesians, iv., One Lord, one faith, one baptism. Where there is the same Gospel, there is the same faith, the same hope, the same love, the same spirit, and indeed, the same everything. This is not an unity of place, nor of person, nor of external things, nor of bodies, but an unity of spirit, which St. Paul commands us to endeavour to keep. But wherever you see that the Gospel is not, (as in the synagogue of the Papists and Thomasians), there to a certainty the Church is not, (if we except a few babes, and simple souls), although they baptize and partake of the altar; but be assured it is a Babylon full of witches, foul hags, owls, bitterns (Trans. Note: hungry water-birds of prey that have a note as harsh and loud as the braying of an ass); or, in other words full of our eminent doctors and divines. Hence, where the Gospel is not, the Church is not: for the Gospel (more particularly than baptism and bread) is the most certain, and the most glorious symbol of the Church: for it is by the Gospel alone the Church is conceived, begotten, formed, nourished, brought up, fed, clothed, adorned, strengthened, armed, and preserved: in a word, the whole life and substance of the Church is the Word of God: as Christ saith, By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live.……….”

Papal Church Prophesied in Old and New Testament

“………I do not deny, the existence of the Papistical Church, nor its power! No, no! for there is no one thing (Christ excepted) concerning which so much is said in the New Testament, nor indeed in the Old. And therefore, why should I not, in honour of my friend Catharinus, and in duty to that most holy vice-god in Christ, the Pope, proceed to show the existence of that pre-eminent power, from solid and copious Scripture testimony; in order that I may stop the mouths of all who dare insultingly deny that it is to be proved by the divine record? I will, therefore, proceed to prove the existence of the Papal Church, and that most effec­tually: and, as principal testimony, let me bring forward Daniel, who has, in chap. viii. these words, , as they are rendered from the Hebrew verbatim!

“And after their kingdom, when prevarications (or transgressions), shall have sunk them into darkness, there shall stand up A KING powerful IN FACES, and intelligent of PROPOSITIONS; and his efficacy shall be strengthened, but not by his own efficacy. And he shall destroy wonderful things; and shall prosper and shall practice; and shall destroy the mighty, and the people of the saints. And all shall appeal to him for judgment; and his craft shall prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and in his success he shall destroy many. And he shall stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken to pieces without hand.”

Daniel 8:23-25

Antichrist a Succession of Men – Not One Single Person

“In the first place, no regard is to be paid to those who would understand this and similar places in the prophets as having reference to one person only; for such know not, that the manner of the prophets is to signify or represent, under one person, any whole kingdom in a body. Hence, they would mistakenly make ANTICHRIST whom Paul calls the man of sin, and the son of perdition, to be one person; whereas the apostle would have the whole body and chaos of those impious men, and -the whole succession of those that reign, to be understood as ANTICHRIST. Thus, in Daniel viii. The ‘ram’ sig­nifies the kingdom of the Persians, the ‘goat’ the kingdom of the Grecians.

“And when the prophet says that this KING should stand up at the end of the four kingdoms, of which the last is the Roman, the Iron Kingdom, he plainly intimates this, — that the tyranny of the Pope began in the decline of the Roman empire. And it actually arose out of the Roman empire and grew up in its place; as is evident from all history, as present experience de­monstrates, and as Paul also predicted, 2 Thess. ii: that he that then held power would hold it, until he should be taken out of the way; and that then that wicked one should be revealed, &c. But the name of the Roman empire was translated to the Germans, when no part of the Roman; empire any longer remained. And this was the opportune moment that was seized by that man of sin for raising himself above all kings, above all bishops, yea, above the heaven and the earth: and thus was his kingdom strengthened in his hand, and a diploma was also drawn out to confirm this lie: not so much lying in itself, as stupid, from the grant of Constantine.

Luther Equates the Falling Away of 2 Thess. 2 with the Departing of the Faith in 1 Timothy 4

“…..In these expressions [Paul] sets forth the whole error of doctrines, of opinions, of faith, and of apostasy: according as he also predicted, ‘Unless there shall come a falling away first,’ and as he speaks also to 1 Tim. iv. ‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and to doctrines of devils.’ And again, ‘And they shall turn away their ears from the truth,’ in which place, according to his frequent custom he calls the faith of Christ ‘the truth’……

“From the whole of which, it is evident, that Daniel, in the [Hebrew] word PESCHAIM, does not intend any sins, or sins in general, but emphatically, those specious sins which fight against Faith and Truth: viz., self-righteousness, superstitions, ceremonies, and those things through which men depart from the faith which alone can truly justify and sanctify; as Paul Col. iii. and in many other places, declares in his cautionary admonitions. And this shows what Paul means in his prophetic words, “they would not receive the love of the truth:” that is, they would not love the truth which is in faith: but with the Children of Israel they would loathe this light food, manna, and would lust after flesh; that is, they would turn to fables and traditions of men. Wherefore, we can by no means apply these [prophetic] iniquities to any of the heretics in old time, but alone to these traditions of men and impious righteousness. For the con­tentions of the heretics of old were confined to the Scriptures. But this KING will reign outside the Scriptures [inventing] his own doctrines…..

Further Proofs Daniel’s Prophecy Predicts the Pope and Not an OT King

“….It is evident therefore, that after [not before the Advent of] Christ, this KING would be preached [in contradistinction to Christ]; and that too against the light of the Gospel, by which the world is illu­minated. Their sinking into darkness by transgressions, proves that they had once been illuminated; which cannot be said of the kingdoms that were before Christ; for as they were never illuminated, they could not become darkened; nor could they thus prevaricate, because they never had walked in the truth.

Luther Perceives Christ, Paul & Peter Predict the Papacy

“But this prophecy must be understood of those times in which Christ foretold, and almost in the same words, that the abomination should be set up, saying, ‘when iniquities shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.’ St. Paul saith, ‘that they all might be damned that received not the love of the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ And Peter, in the most expressive language, declares that there should be in those of the latter times ‘a returning again to their own vomit.’ And he is almost the only one who explains particularly, what that iniquity should is which abounds, by which they should be darkened, saying,

‘But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be also false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, (he had almost said, the son of perdition), even denying the Lord that bought them, and bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness, shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.’

Church Leaders to Blame for Evil Doctrines

“Here Peter speaks exclusively of the government, episcopacy; or, (as they call it) the ecclesiastical administration: and he shows that all this evil will proceed from the ministration of those who sit in the place of God, and who ought to rule the people according to the Word. There­fore, we are to consider the principals and heads of Churches as the authors of all these evils.

False Prophets in the Church are Plagues Judgments of God’s Wrath

“And this is a plague from the wrath of God, when he sends operations of error and false prophets. When he inflicts pestilence, sword, famine, and other corporeal evils, it is a rod of mercy. But when he deprives us of the Word of salvation, and sends the poison of error, it is a scourge of his utmost wrath.

Muslims not Included in this Prophecy

“Daniel might have appeared to speak concerning the Turk, under whose kingdom iniquities darkened the people had not Peter taught us to understand Daniel as speaking of that power which is exercised among the people of God, and of those who sit in the office of theologian and bishop. Moreover, Daniel himself will by and by show that he is speaking concerning those who parallel the false prophets who were among his people in old time. Indeed, these things will not apply to Mohammedans; for as they have rejected baptism and the Gospel, they neither are, nor are considered to be, the people of God….

Let this [truth], therefore, be fixed at the outset ; – the king of which Daniel speaks was to be very great; as great as either the king of Persia or of Greece, or of Rome – after which time his kingdom was to stand in the doctrines of men, among the people of God; and in so doing, against the light of the Gospel.

Now, at the opening of the interpretation of this vision, let us look into the words of Peter. For who does not see that these iniquities apply most exactly to the pastors of the church of Rome. And to whom could Peter address these words, but to his Roman brethren, by whom his books are received, and among whom his authority has the greatest weight?[2] Did not Moses and the prophets speak to their people? And so Paul saith, Romans iii. ‘We know that whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law.’ And saith Peter, there shall be among you. Who are these ‘you’” but those who hear Peter and ac­knowledge him?

Luther Applies the Prophecies and Revelation to His Age

“These words, therefore, belong unto us who are under the Roman Babylon: and in us must be fulfilled all these things which Daniel, Christ, Peter, Paul, Jude, and John in the Revelation have predicted.

Have we not already borne with false teachers these many years, who, having extinguished the Gospel, teach us their own traditions? The whole tribe of bishops, pastors, and divines are here descriptively pointed out; who, with the one same madness, exalt the decrees of the Roman Pontiff and teach them unto men: which Peter most for­cibly and emphatically expresses thus, ‘They shall privily bring in.’ The Greek word is ‘pareisazousin’—— ‘they shall bring in together with,’ that is, together with the doctrine of godliness, which they plausibly profess. They shall bring in, by crafty devices, un­godliness; or, in other words, together with the Gospel, they shall craftily bring in that which is their own. For they will not deny the Gospel, but, together with the words of the Gospel, they shall introduce both glosses, interpretations, and decrees of their own invention; and, by imperceptible degrees they shall draw men aside from ‘the King’s high-way’ of faith, into sects of work­ mongers, by which they shall corrupt and destroy the Gospel: so that, at last, it shall be rendered useless for the teaching of faith.

Proofs the Prophecies Predict False Christian Prophets

“And thus it was in old time; the false prophets did not deny the name of the Lord; yea, they came in the name of the Lord; they are described by Christ, Matt. xxiv. thus, ‘There shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall seduce many.’ For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ,” And again; ‘If they shall say, Lo here is Christ, or, Lo there, believe them not.’ Who are these crying, ‘Lo here and lo there,’ but sects of perdition? And what is this perdition but a destruction of faith and of the Gospel? And there­fore, Paul, Eph. iv., calls these sects, and their doctrines of works, ‘an insidious design to deceive.’ This is because those impious wretches go about to deceive the people, addressing them in crafty discourses, comprising the word of God, or of Scriptures twisted to their own purpose; or ‘together with the Scriptures’ they infuse their own doctrines, ‘privily brought in,’ and thrown down as stumbling-­blocks in the way…

“So descriptive are the words by which that destructive influence of the false teachers is predicted. For they do not do away completely with the way of Christ, nor do they deny the doctrine of the Gospel, (at least in appearance), and yet, ‘they privily bring in’ with it, divisions, and offences by which they gradually corrupt the way of the Lord and the Gospel, destroying them; yet they holding them in name and title only. And yet, what are all these he­resies speciously professed, but the greatest ungodliness?……..

Holy Orders deny the Lord that bought them

“But what does Peter mean when he says, not simply, ‘denying the Lord’, but ‘denying the Lord that bought them’? He most certainly predicts, that Christ should be denied by these [false teachers] in the article of justification. Not that they should openly deny him altogether, (for in that case they could not be called false teachers) nor that they should, together with the doctrine of truth, bring in privily damnable heresies; but that they should, while they professed the Gospel, externally and nominally, consider themselves saved by their various orders and sects, and not through the faith of Christ. For the design of Christ, in purchasing us with his blood, was that we might be justified by faith in him. On the contrary, the design of that infinite variety of religions, works, and sects, is, that, by our devoted services, we might make satis­faction to God, and merit the kingdom of heaven. And the Pope by his sanctions, has confirmed all these sects, as holy orders and saving modes of living; and has rendered them not only specious, but the more destructive; because, by that sanction, confidence in them is established; while, on the other hand, he, as their most holy Father, is strengthened by his beloved sons in his tyranny; and thus, they serve each others purposes as responsively as one ass brays in answer to another. And thus also, while in word they confess, by their works they deny, that Christ is the Lord…

“But they will say, Our ordinances are good, and holy men delivered them unto us, such as Augustine, Benedict, Bernard, Francis, Dominic and others equally holy. I answer… because these religious ones teach from the fathers the examples of their works alone, and do not teach their faith; hence it happened to them that they blindly rushed upon those things which the fathers did under error, (for it is foretold that in these things ‘the very elect should be deceived’,) embracing the erroneous and external appearance of those things, instead of embracing the good way [of the Gospel of faith]……

How the way of truth is evil spoken of By Them

“What is that ‘way of truth’? Is it not that which is opposed to the external show and hypocrisy of works? For the apostles instituted no religious orders, but preached unto all that one and only ‘highway’ of faith in Christ.’ Faith in Christ, therefore, is the ‘way of truth.’ And who are these that ‘speak evil of,’ (or blaspheme) the way of truth? Why, most assuredly, those who deny the Lord! And do not those, who, under the sanctioning authority of the Roman Pontiff, extol their devoted services, promoting their sects, exalting their orders as holy, righteous and saving? Do not these, I say, take away from the way of truth its praise and its glory giving both to their own orders?

The Pride of the Orders

“And this blasphemy against the way of truth has been carried so far that the clergy, and especially that monkish rabble of religionists, are deemed the only Christians. But as for all the rest of the clergy, they are openly called secular priests, and of this world, and are considered as the common laity, that are out of the way of salvation. And he who enters into an order of religion is boasted of and considered as coming out of the world and secular commonality. And finally, it is deemed absolutely requisite that he who would be saved should enter upon an order of religion. Is not this blaspheming the way of truth? Is not this teaching Christ with a Lo here! Lo there! [when in truth He is not there?]. By [instituting these unscriptural orders] is not the way of faith deserted and contemned, and sects and superstitions of works taken up in its stead? In them must not trust in Christ of necessity perish, and trust in works be embraced? And yet, such hypocrites as these make so great a blaze in the world, and are so held in honor, that, in comparison to them the simple Christians with faith are looked upon as the filth of the streets!

Those Who Oppose the False Teachers are Deemed Antichrist

And furthermore, if anyone should stand up against these ways of human choosing and devising, or, as the apostle calls them, (Col. ii.), ‘will-­worship,’ (that is, religion of one’s own choosing), and should condemn them, and should declare that they lead to offences, they tend to destroy faith, to render the Gospel vain, to seduce souls into a [false] confidence of salvation stemming from the sanc­tion given by the Pope, and into glorying in themselves; and that faith alone in Christ is the only way of salvation; — if, I say, anyone should stand forward and declare and teach these truths, what do you think this holy tribe would do with him? Why, they would call him a hundred, yea a thousand times over, a heretic, an antichrist, erroneous, a schis­matic, a devil, Satan himself!

The Papacy and Church of Rome Fulfill the Prophecies

“……They exactly accomplish all that has been predicted by the prophets concerning the crafty deceivers, the lying prophets and teachers and pas­tors, the self-righteous, and others of an infinite denomination. For it was foretold, that in the ‘lat­ter days,’ these should more extensively prevail. Again, saith Peter, ‘And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.’ This has been so manifestly fulfilled by bulls, indulgences, decrees, stationaries, collectors, sub-collectors, mass priests, etc., that it needs no interpretive comment. What is the whole ministry of the clergy at this day but a scheme of avarice?…..wallowing in satiety, ease, wealth, power, honour and applause, wearing the garb of sanctity and religion, and make the holy name of God the subservient tool for accomplishing their enormities!

Luther Explains Daniel’s FACES or COUNTENANCES

But let us now return to Daniel and from him learn a little more concerning this abominable kingdom. What has been said is enough for preliminary introduction. Daniel, then, sets before us a kingdom wonderful and monstrous; a kingdom totally different from all the kingdoms that ever have been from the beginning, or ever will be to the end of the world — a kingdom which prevails by powers and weapons new and unheard of — which does exploits, new and unheard of; and, in a word, every thing concerning it is new and unheard of. The prophet then says,

There shall stand up a king powerful in coun­tenances, (or faces).


“….the expression, ‘shall stand up’ denotes a standing, not of one person, nor for a short time, but a standing of a whole king­dom, a successive kingdom. And so Christ saith, the abomination standing in the holy place, that is, remaining firm, stable, and strengthened by many adherents. And Paul makes that son of perdition, not [temporarily] passing through, but ‘sitting in,’ the temple of God. And the power of this monstrous king ‘wonderful.’ He is not powerful in horns or hoofs or sword or arms, like any other king the Word of God describes; but totally diverse from every other; he is ‘powerful in FACES.’ Nor does Daniel say, ‘powerful in face,’ but ‘powerful in (many) faces.’[3] Hence it is evident, ‘that this prophecy cannot be applied to Mahomet, nor to any other kingdom that is obtained by force, or by arms. For kingdoms of this kind are always represented in the Scripture, under the emblems of teeth, horns and hoofs. Nor can it be applied to the kingdom of Christ, which is altogether without face, (‘observation’), and consists in spirit, fighting with a spiritual horn, the Word of God. This kingdom, therefore, can be neither spiritual, nor temporal; nor can it be obtained by spiritual or temporal arms. By what arms, then, is it obtained?!

By FACES Daniel Implies ‘Outward Appearances of Holiness’

By ‘FACES!’ — That is, by external observation, by appearance, by pomp, etc. In other words, by superstitions, by rites, by ceremo­nies which are designed to catch the eye through the use of robes, meats, persons, buildings, gestures, and the like! Of all ‘faces’ or appearances, [religious] superstition and hypocrisy are the most effectually destructive because they are the show of godliness and the external garb of religion. As such they are the most powerfully attractive and the most engagingly pleasing. The external appearance of profane objects, such as girls, youths, riches, friends, plays, etc., have not half so much power to attract, captivate and entrap, as those things which are [viewed as] sacred. For these, having a pretence to that which is divine, and appearing to be connected with the interests of eternity, captivate and deceive the most powerful, the most holy, the most wise among men; and consequently ‘the very elect!’

The King of Powerful Countenances Prophesies the Papal Antichrist

It is evident, therefore, that this king must be ANTICHRIST; that is, an adversary to Christ and to his kingdom. For Christ is a king powerful in truth; and a most decided adversary to all faces! or external shows and appearances; as may be clearly seen in his Gospel: whereas, this king, being ‘powerful in faces,’ is a most decided adversary to truth. And therefore, it is not without cause, that the apostles Peter and Paul so often impress upon us this word, “truth,” and with so much caution deter us from ‘face,’ or show. And hence, Paul to Timothy, expounding this prophecy, says prophetically, ‘There shall be men lovers of themselves,’ etc., ‘having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’

But let us see particularly what this kingdom of the Pope is, and first of all, what these FACES are, as they apply to PERSONS. Was there ever an empire that exhibited so great personages as this kingdom? Behold, first the Pope, ostentati­ously magnifying himself under his three-fold dia­dem, surrounded with all the tumultuous parade of pompous retinue! Next, see the pomp and wealth of the cardinals! And these are not all of one and the same appearance of personage, for this sluggish swinish herd make themselves as so many kings in their different stations. Then observe the patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, suffragans, vicars, presbyters, deacons, canons, officials, scribes! And who could enumerate all the remaining dregs! Indeed, it would be no easy task to recount all the ‘faces’ of just the monks alone. And yet such are the things that form the boasted state and salvation of their Church. Nor do the most sacred ordinances of the most holy Pope demand anything different. On the other hand, Christ and his apostles governed the Church in the most glorious manner by truth

Alone without any of these [unscriptural] things; nor is there any mention of such things either in their Church, or in the Word of God. Now, good reader understandest thou what this ‘king powerful in faces’ is! I am persuaded, if thou doest, and just takest the trouble to compare these things with the words of the apostles of truth, thou will clearly understand what that abomination standing in the holy place is!


[1] London: James Nisbet & Co., 1836.

[2] Luther refers to 1 Peter 5:13, interpreting Babylon to signify Rome.

[3] The King James Version uses the singular, countenance, as does the Septuagint.


The Other Eleven FACES of the Antichrist and His Kingdom

The SECOND FACE is the riches of the Church, the patrimonies of the crucifix, the property of the Church, the spiritual substance. For the power of this kingdom is so wonderful, that it makes even temporal things spiritual, worldly things ecclesiasti­cal, and corporeal things heavenly…. For what emperor can you name that ever had such a profusion of wealth as this kingdom or Church? All know and con­fess that more than half the wealth of the world, is possessed by these ecclesiastics, in the cities, provin­ces, duchies, kingdoms, and countries which are incorporated with the dominions of this king! When the Roman empire existed, that only received tributes; but this king possesses all the real substance itself. What Roman Consul can you mention that was ever equal to one of these cardinals, archbishops, or bishops? No empire that ever existed displayed princes so great, personages so powerful, wealth so profuse, scenery so rich, or splendour so magnifi­cent. And not contented with this half of the world, they presume to consider all the possessions of the laity as their own by right; and endeavour by their own influence, to subject every thing they wish to their own authority and power; assailing princes, potentates, and magistrates with the allure­ments of lust; and countries, provinces, cities, baro­nies, and villages, with the force of authority. And where these fail in producing submission, they involve them in wars and bloodshed; either by the instrumentality of their own soldiers, or by kindling discord among the magistrates and princes.

Nor are they content even with having thus made the wealth and substance of the whole world their own. This kingdom of “faces” goes yet farther; even to make all things its own, at what time, and in what way it pleases. And thus, the Pope, fleeces the bishops, the bishops fleece the priests. Surplice-fees, yearly offerings, collections and impositions of a thousand forms and denominations are adopted for carrying on this holy plunder; the whole of which calamitous weight falls at last upon the heads and property of the poor, unhappy laity! For the priests and the monks fleece them to supply the bishops first, and then to supply themselves. At the head, as manager of this plunder which is going on in his wealthy Church around him, sits the holy Pope who possesses half the world!……And an ana­thema is at once pronounced upon him who does not strenuously maintain that these barefaced ex­tortions, which are unremittingly multiplied daily, are most eminent services tending to the increase, the ornament and the establishment of the holy Church.

…..And to what use are all these riches appropriated? Whose necessities are they designed to alleviate? ‘Are they to be administered to the poor and needy? No! They are designed to procure the voluptuous indulgences of Sodom, of Gomorrah, and of Sybaris…..

The Ultimate Sin is to Oppose Antichrist

…..It is considered a far less heinous crime to commit murder, or adultery, or theft, to break one’s oath, to forswear oneself, yea, to blaspheme the name of God, (though even these are, with Antichrist, rather insignificant foibles, and not sins), when compared to the injury caused by speaking disrespectfully of the character of one of their clergy, or to be the means of lessening his revenues by one farthing!….. Many princes have perished by murderous means. No one ever escaped being overwhelmed and ruined by abuse and persecution, who attempted to touch the rights of these holy ones; or who did not pay them sufficient adoration, or worship them to their satisfaction.

The Pope’s Works are Satan’s Signs and Lying Wonders

The reason is because these holy ones cannot see that all their things are the workings of error in the signs and lying wonders of Satan!… It is not because the things which their enemies oppose are holy, but because those things are so envenomed and so full of the curse, (as having been procured by the Popes through magic arts so iniquitous, and robberies so unparalleled) that, it is ‘death and destruction,’ (as we say), for a good man to touch such things in any way….The Popes wallow in voluptuous luxury and shine in splendid honour while they live; and when they die, are buried with pomp and grandeur, and en­tombed in sepulchers, the most magnificent that sculpture can erect: and then perpetual memorials are founded to procure for them that heaven which they could not merit for themselves when living; because of their being so occupied in contriving and enjoying those holy plunders, by which they were justly prevented from gaining heaven, and by which they merited hell!

The Third FACE

The THIRD FACE, namely, that of their edifices, their palaces, and their dwellings. For as the ‘faces’ (or appearances) of wealth and splendor adorn the ‘faces’ (or appearances) of the persons, and without which the persons themselves are despicable and things of naught; so, the ‘faces’ of edifices ennoble the ‘faces’ of riches and grandeur. Indeed, the riches themselves are contemptible and things of naught, if there be not edifices of an elegance, beauty, nobleness and magnificence equal to them…..What luxurious grandeur, what brilliant splendor, what choice elegance will bear any comparison with them in the whole world! They build as if they were preparing for themselves an unending paradise in this world…[How contrary] to their predecessors, who were but a few POOR FISHERMAN!!….. In addition to these FACES what an ocean of laws have they concerning dignities, prelacies, prebendaries, tribunals, courts of judicature, privileges, immunities, etc., which have no more to do with the Church than Belial with Christ!

The Fourth FACE

A FOURTH FACE, then, is formed by their robes and habits: and it is by this FACE – above all others – that this impious abomination supports and defends itself. For who is not rendered great, holy, and worthy of adoration, by that scarlet hat; that two-horned miter; that long purple train; that mule glittering with jewels; those shoes bespangled and bedizened with gold, gems, and every precious ornament; and all that blazing variety of splendor, whereby those holy ones have distinguished themselves from the laity and the common habits and dress of Christians, or, from every thing profane! Add to this, that, to touch that shaven head, or those hands which have been consecrated with stinking oil, is the most enormous of all sacrileges. And, oh what a happy being, who is occa­sionally deemed worthy to kiss them!…. What act of adultery, think ye, could be equal in enormity to the delinquency of that clerical, who should neglect to shave his pate for a whole month? What parricide would be any way comparable with the sin of the one who should neglectfully minister at the altar without his surplice, or his ruffles, or any one title of his canonicals?…..

These are they that constitute the holy Catholic Church; and in whom the Holy Spirit dwells! These are they who, we are to believe, can never err! And why are we to believe this? – because they are thus shaven, thus enrobed, and thus paraded about on mules and litters! Whereas these are not only impious and ungodly characters, and ignorant of the Scriptures, but destitute of all civil knowledge and common sense, and more sottishly stupid than Arcadian asses!

The Fifth FACE

A FIFTH FACE is that splendid artifice for the collecting and swallowing up of money in founding, erecting, adorning and enriching churches, monasteries, chapels, altars, and all such buildings. For hence arise those all-holy rites and dispensa­tions, those bulls and seals of the Pope, whereby in thousands of forms he gives away heaven to these helping hands, and those pious founders. Here one finds a buzzing business in infinite good works. Here are collected uncountable treasures for the house of God! And here, the more spacious, the more splendid, the more sumptuous, the more beautiful structures these deluded founders erect, the greater Christians they are! Those that bring their contributions here do a far more meritorious deed than those who give to the poor! And yet after all, they do not build that they may have a convenient place for hearing the Word, but that they may be seen both of God and men. For they build a house to that God, who, as declared by Stephen, Acts vii., and also, long before, by Nathan and David, that he dwelleth not in houses made with hands…..

But what is said of the Word and of faith all the while? Nothing at all! Let Christ look to this in his kingdom of TRUTH. This [papal] king’s concern is to look to his kingdom of FACES and to support it and aggrandize it by all the efforts and arts in his power. Now tell me, if this is not worshipping wood and stone, pray, what is? For God has not commanded all these edifices and structures. Indeed, those things which He has commanded are destroyed by them and trampled underfoot!

The Sixth FACE

A SIXTH, is not one FACE, but a whole thicket, or wood, of FACES. It comprehends all those things which are carried on in the churches of the Pope, things which bring in a rich supply of gain and profit. Here the canonical rounds of prayers are murmured over, or bawled out. But there is not the least prayer in any of them. And their efficacy are increased with the addition of prayers to the Blessed Virgin and to the holy cross; and with a whole babble of endless chants and songs which God declares by his prophets He will never hear.

I will say nothing here about the cups, the images, the vessels, the utensils of gold, silver, wood, etc., also the curtains, robes, vestments and ornaments, without bounds or number, together with the lights, lamps and things of that kind which are beyond description or enumeration. In a word, for the support of this ‘face,’ they have increased their sacraments into confirmation, orders, matrimony, unction, etc. — Good heavens! What a vortex has been created for swallowing up money! Yea, and what is more awful, this vortex swallows souls!……

Hence it is that Paul calls that all-holy creature, the Pope – the man of sin, and the son of perdition: that is, an arbitrary and most impious law-maker in those things which by Christ are made free unto all the faithful. Here I shall, I’m sure, be condemned by the all­ -holy satellites [princes] of this creature, the Pope, as a Waldensian, and a Wickliffite….

The Seventh FACE

We may call a SEVENTH FACE, all that abuse of the mass, with the whole of its attendant so­lemnities, its vigils, its anniversaries, its foundations, and its sepulchrals, with all that ‘famous’ to do for the souls of the dead! What is all this but a mere ‘face’ of piety, to deceive and fleece the befooled people? For we do not have mass, even today, to the intent that we may partake of the altar and hear the Gospel, (which is the true way of celebrating mass), but we multiply our masses to increase our idol of good works; and indeed, we celebrate it more for the benefit of the dead than of the living: except that the living creatures who perform this duty of the mass procure for themselves ‘filthy lucre’ and a good living thereby. In a word, as though the mass had nothing to do with communion, they separate the sacrament from the mass for benefit of the weak carrying it about like a show, attended with I know not what wonderful sights.­ All these are the inventions of men, no where commanded of God, nor necessary; nay, they are impious; and positively forbidden; and especially those which pertain to the mass. And yet, that all-­holy fountain of sins and perditions has forced these into necessary precepts; so that whosoever opens his mouth once to mutter against them is called an open heretic.

The Eighth FACE

An EIGHTH FACE are those self-chosen and fixed times for feasting and fasting, which are free for all times and days. Whereas fasting is not observed today as a mortification of the flesh, but rather as a good work. Fasting on this particular day, abstaining from certain meats on another, is the way in which men merit heaven nowadays. What is all this but an impious ‘face’ concerning which Paul predicted long ago, 1 Tim. iv. 3, Commanding to abstain from meats which God has created to be received with thanksgiving. And Gal iv. 10 – 11, Ye observe days and months, times and years. I am afraid of you lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

The Ninth FACE

A NINTH FACE we will consider to be the multiplying and iniquity of their feast days. Thus, at this very day that all-holy creature, the Pope, teaches men to serve God by laziness; that is, as he explains it, by the intermission of ministry work; whereas, all days are free, both for working and for keeping holiday. In this ‘face,’ shine blazingly forth all those feast days of the visitation, the Corpus Christi, the conception, the apostles, and the like. And we are made to believe that the souls of all who do not observe these foolish, use­less and vain precepts and inventions of the Pope must sin and perish.

The Tenth FACE: False Chastity

A TENTH FACE is that noted celibacy, and that great multitude of all-chaste monks and nuns. This is, indeed, an angelic face, (or outward show) but diabolical reality,: coI1cerning which Paul speaks again, 1 Tim. Iv, forbidding to marry. Here again, that which Christ made to be free, that all-holy creature, the Pope, has made an indis­pensable necessity. Daniel again speaks of this Chapter xi. 37, Neither shall he regard the desire of women, nor regard any God, by which Daniel means that he shall be averse to marriage, not from any love of chastity, but merely to make an outward show.

The Eleventh FACE: Relic Worship

An ELEVENTH FACE is the worshipping of relics. This is certainly a very pretty, lucrative ‘face.’ On this account, there have been devised numerous pilgrimages in which the deceived people lose their labor, time, and money. In the meantime, contrary to the command of God they impiously neglect their houses and affairs, deserting their wives and children; whereas, by attending to these, they might have done much greater good works in performing their duty towards their neighbor. This is the command of God, but visiting and worship­ping relics are mere follies and devices of men……

The Twelfth FACE: Catholic Universities

A TWELFTH and last FACE which I shall mention, (for I must leave the remaining” faces” to be set forth by others), is that incredibly specious ‘face,’ – that chaos, – that wide open gate of hell — ­their universities! The very entrance doors to these, I say, are perjury which abuse the name of God. For all the conversation within them is full of licentiousness, and unboundedly given every species of iniquity. And yet, under all these scenes of sin and perdition are promised knowledge and wisdom. Moreover, certain honors and degrees are appointed as rewards for all these enormities!

But what do they actually attain unto in these universities? In the first place, the more promising youths of the Christian people are here prostituted and cast into the open mouth of hell! So that one would think this scene of perdition was prefigured by the idol Moloch, to whom those of old sacrificed and burnt their dearest sons and daughters. In the second place, Aristotle is set before them, and he not rightly understood; and with him, and other ancient and modern literature, their Christian minds are occupied; yea, rather blinded and over­whelmed. And instead of the Word of God, the dogmas of the Pope are studied, on purpose as it were, to extinguish utterly the blessed Gospel. In a word, Satan has not contrived one scheme more craftily or more effectually destructive of all that is good, than the erection and constitution of these universities, where, under the name of Christian doctrine, those things are taught which are the most diametrically opposite to, and the most subversive of, the Christian faith. Concerning this ‘FACE’ we might go on to speak much more fully and extensively, if our time, and the compass of our discussion would permit. It is from these awful caves and dens, therefore, that these men are called to take the help of the church; and these are they who are considered to be the most pro­perly qualified!

This ‘face’ is, I think, by far the most effectually destructive of all because this is the only one that carries with it any pretensions to the Word, for all the rest pretend only to example, etc. This school, therefore, is manifestly a school of HIDOTH; that is, of PROPOSITIONS; con­cerning which we are just about to speak in that which shall presently follow….

Luther Expounds Revelation 9:1-12

This last deceptive bugbear of a FACE is that which seems to be predicted, Rev. ix. 1-12, which passage it will be right to set forth and explain here in a few words. John says, And the fifth angel sounded; and I saw a star fall from heaven into the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit, etc.

This passage I should venture to open thus: It is certain that the nominative, ‘angels,’ throughout the whole of the Revelation, signify bishops of the churches, as may be clearly gathered from the first and eleventh chapters of Revelation where what is said is spoken to the ‘angel of Ephesus’, and to the ‘angel of Smyrna,’ and to the rest in the same manner. And moreover, that other kind of angels which ‘sound with the trumpet,’ of whom there are seven, cannot apply to any but to the Roman bishops; for no others may be said to ‘sound with a trumpet’ because to sound with a trumpet cannot (as we may conclude from the context and from the consequence and effects which followed their sounding) mean anything else but the making of decrees: and this is what none others arrogate to themselves except the bishops of the church of Rome. Nor is it said in vain that these angels ‘prepared to sound,’ for these Popes and bishops alone have an impatient fury and restlessness about them to establish their violent tyranny by the making of laws and the subduing of all others under their rule.

Aquinas the Fifth Angel Who Introduced the Smoke of Aristotle

But let us dwell upon this ‘fifth angel,’ who is the first of the three that were to bring the three woes upon the earth. This is the angel that first instituted and confirmed the uni­versities, but I should find a difficulty in men­tioning this angel by name, because histories here vary so much. But be he whom he will, this ‘star that fell from heaven unto the earth’ was either Alexander De Hales; or, which I the rather believe, Thomas Aquinas; who was the first, or at least, the principal introducer of philosophy into the Christian world, after the institution of these universities and the sounding of the trumpet of this angel; being a man crammed full of Aristotle, and, indeed, actually another Aristotle himself; on whom he fell, and to whose writings he devoted his mind, as if he had been sent immediately from heaven by Christ himself; and he relied on this authority of that most wicked angel, Aristotle, and approved of such study and learning for Christians.

This man, therefore, received the key of the bot­tomless pit and opened it bringing forth out of it that philosophy which had been long dead and condemned by the apostles. And thus it was that the ‘smoke of this pit arose;’ that is, the mere words and opinions of Aristotle and the other heathen philosophers, all of which rose up like smoke out of a great furnace. For because of Aquinas, philosophy gained ground and was spread far and wide; so much so, that it made Aristotle equal to Christ himself, with respect to authority and faith. Here the Sun of righteousness and truth, which is Christ himself, was darkened; and moral virtues were introduced in the place of faith, and an infinity of vague opinions in the stead of truth. And the air, with the sun, was darkened by the smoke out of this pit. So that we may clearly understand that it was not an eclipse of the sun, but a darkening of both the sun and air by this smoke rising up out of hell; that is, by these human doctrines that obscure Christ and faith in him. They are represented by ‘the sun’ and ‘the air’ respectively.

And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth. Here we have represented the people belonging to these universities, who are born or made from this philosophy. They are most appropriately called ‘locusts,’ because they are without a king (that is Christ) and fly about in bands or shoals, (as it is written, Proverbs xxx. 27), and then they destroy and burn up every thing that is green, on what place so ever they alight: hence it is, that they are called ‘locusts.’ So, too, do these people destroy and burn up all the spring-pastures of Christ; that is, faith and its fruits.

And unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. That is, for wounding consciences. For when the spring-fruits of faith are destroyed, which faith alone it is that heals the conscience, the conscience cannot but be injured and wounded. Then it is said, And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; that is, that they should not hurt the elect. For these locusts do not hurt all; nor do natural locusts destroy every thing that is green; but settle on some particular spot and destroy everything around them there. And so it is said here, but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads; meaning those who have not faith, which is the seal of God, which we bear in a pure conscience and a free spirit and con­versation.

It is said, again, That they should not kill them, but torment them for five months. This seems to be spoken concerning moral doctrine, which, though it teaches us the knowledge of sin, like the law of God, yet it does not effectually kill us but only afflicts us with vain cogitations and devoted endeavors; whereby, we are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Whereas, those that are effectually killed, are made alive by the Eternal Spirit, and are not tormented for five months; that is, for the whole time of their sensual life, during which moral virtues reign. Thus we see, that all moral theologians have a dreadful and most unhappy conscience; are full of scruples and disquietude, and have no power over evil, nor any power to do good. Hence it follows in the Scripture before us, And their torment was as the torment of a Scorpion when he striketh a man. Behold here the description of this wounded conscience; for the Holy Ghost here explains what he before meant; And in those days (saith he) men shall seek death and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. That is, the death of sin, which lives and reigns in their consciences, and yet is not rightly known; for, if it were rightly known, it would soon be killed and perish. But this death of sin is not the work of the ethics of Aristotle, but of the Letter and the Spirit.

It is also said that the shapes of these locusts were like unto horses prepared for the battle – that is, the battle of school disputation and contention. This allegory beautifully depicts this battle: for all these schoolmen are always ready to argue pro and con, (as we say). Then it continues, And on their heads, as it were, crowns like gold, that is, the names and titles of their degrees, such as, ‘Our Eminent Master,’ ‘The humble and unworthy professor of sacred divinity,’ etc., etc.. Again, And their faces were as the faces of men, because their life and doctrine are ruled, not by the Spirit of faith, but by the dictates of natural reason – the same light of nature that illuminated Aristotle.

Luther Interprets ‘Hair of Women’ as Symbolic of the Sodomite Priesthood

Then it is said, And they had hair as the hair of women. That is, philosophy makes only effeminate priests and men given up to luxury and voluptuousness, in whom there is nothing of the Spirit, nor anything flourishing of the manly strength of sense and truth in Christ. For priests are represented by this hair, Psalm lxviii., Isaiah iii. and other places. Indeed, a man cannot become a theologian today without being such an one. Thus, theologians, in general, have, on that account, become a by-word [for ‘Sodomite’] with the common people.

Again, their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And here, only take the Thomasians[1] alone and consider them. See if they are not the most mordacious calumniators and devourers of all those who attempt to speak against Aristotle. Nay, all the Thomasians, Scotians and Moderns gnash their teeth at each other; not just any kind of teeth, but the very teeth of lions. Nor is there any kind or character of men that war against each other with more atrocity and hatred than these sects of theologians; for each one desires to alone reign supreme, wishing all others be utterly consumed.

Again, And they had, as it were,­ breast-plates of iron. Here we have depicted the pertinacity and security of each separate sect, concerning the stability and truth of their own particular opinion. These are clad in iron breast-plates; and such are the principles of each separate sect.

Again, And the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots and of many horses running to battle. Their wings are the words of these disputants and contenders; wherewith they impetuously, clamorously and bitterly rush upon and combat each other. This we see in all the tumults between these disputers, both in their words and their whole writings. Neither one will yield to the other. Each one is invincible. This pertinacious obstinacy in dispute is that which is represented by this rushing of the chariots and horses to the battle.

And again, They had tails like unto scorpions and there were stings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months. Here the Holy Ghost explains what he had said before, and sets forth the fruit and end of this theology; showing that the result must be wounded and distressed consciences throughout their entire sensual lives. But to spiritual men this kind of theology is an abomination because they are translated out of the bounds of these five months of sensual life, (as we said before), having settled in the spirit of everlasting liberty!

Aristotle, the Destroyer, the King of the Locusts

And now we have it said farther, And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue his name is Apollyon. Let us attentively hear that the great and general ruler of all these universities is not Christ, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the angel of the Lord, but the angel of the bottomless pit; that is, one that is dead, from the dead and the damned! Who is this? Why none other than that ‘light of nature,’ Aristotle, who is truly Apollyon, that is, the destroyer and devastator of the Church, who reigns in the universities – (for this destroyer was not worthy to be named by his own name in the Scriptures). And we have shown that an angel signifies a teacher in the Church; and it is certain that Aristotle, who is dead and damned, is at this day a more universally received teacher in our universities than Christ himself. For being now introduced by the authority and study of Thomas Aquinas, he revives the doctrine of free will, teaching moral virtues, and establishing natural philosophy. Thus, he reigns a three-headed Cerberus or rather, a three-bodied Geryon!

Behold, then, here is the first woe which the Church has received from the Roman Pontiff through the ministration and instrumentality of Thomas Aquinas!……

The Pope is the Man of Sin

0 accursed and to be cursed, abomination! Here is fulfilled that [prophecy] of Paul, II Thess. ii.4, 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. And does not this phrase, to sit in the temple of God, mean that he will profess and declare himself to be Lord and head of the whole Church? What is the temple of God? Is it the stones and the wood? Does not Paul say, 1 Cor. iii.7, The temple of God is holy, whose temple ye are. For in Paul’s time there was no house which they could call the temple, as we now use that appellation when we apply it to our Churches. And what is it to sit in the temple of God, but to teach, rule, and judge there? And who, from the beginning of the Church, has ever dared to call himself the Lord and head of the whole Church, but the Pope alone? No saint, no heretic, no soul, but he himself has ever dared to utter from his mouth a sound of such awful pride. Paul calls himself a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity, but not a master or lord of the Church.

But does not the Pope shew himself as God with a witness [to the world], when he teaches his own words and decrees instead of the words of Christ, setting up PapisticaI righteousness in place of the righte­ousness of faith? And [do the Scriptures teach] he will also exalt himself above God? No! God forbid! But [the Scriptures teach he will exalt himself] above all that is called God; that is, above the preached Word of God: for the Word is called God when it is truly preached and believed. Thus considered, the Pope has long exalted himself above God, sitting in the hearts of men when they receive hi, rather than hearing and believing God. Therefore, when Paul saith, above all that is called God, it is in the Greek, σεβασμα, interpreted worship, or that which is worshipped, or the worship itself. Therefore, you are here to understand by the phrase above God, not God himself, absolutely considered, but above the worship of God, or above that which is observed by us as God. It is as if he had said,

‘In the hearts of men the Pope will be preferred above God,’

that is, his word will have more influence and be more feared than the Word of God and that men will obey and worship him to a greater extent, above the true God.

And is it not a truth that these prophecies will apply to no man but the Pope? The words and commands of God are everywhere despised; but there is no one who does not tremble at the word of the Pope! There is no God, either in heaven or in earth, whose word commands as much obedience as the word of the Pope. This experiential fact plainly demonstrates that no one, not even idiots, can deny it.

Again, who has ever declared that he comes in the name of Christ, and in the manner that the Pope has done? He is the only man in history who has, with intolerable blasphemy and pride, declared himself to be the sole and only vicar of Christ, or vice-Christ and vice-God upon earth. And what is it to be a vicar of God or vice-God, but to sit in the place of God? And what is it to sit in the place of God, but to shew himself as God? Dost thou yet remain in doubt then, Reader, whether or not this prophecy of Paul’s is fulfilled in the Pope? For the Pope to claim to be the vicar of God, or vice-God, is exactly the same thing as shewing himself as God!

Rightly, therefore, did Christ say that these apostles of Antichrist should come in his name. For all other heretics, though they pretend to the truth, yet never pretend to the very name of Christ; this is left for ANTICHRIST alone to do! Hence Christ in Matt. xxiv., not considering it sufficient to have foretold that those characters should come in his name, adds, in explanation of his meaning, saying, I am Christ. As if he had said,

“They shall pretend to my very name, which is ‘Christ,’ and assume it, saying, that they are me……I am Christ.”

Nay, now they have proceeded even to this enormous profanity. They have made the Pope and Christ one! They impiously prate that one man is both Christ and the Pope, and that Christ cannot be separated from the Pope! O most maddened blasphemy! O blasphemy of blasphemies! That profane, wicked and bawdy wretch, that usurer, that sacrilegious plunderer, that all-cruel tyrant is joined with God-Christ, and made one with him! O come, Christ Jesus our Lord, and put an end to these horrors of horrors! Amen.

And what does this vice-God do, sitting in the place of God? Does he execute and teach the commands of his Prince? No! If he be God’s vicegerent, why does he only teach his own commands? And why does he himself not obey that which he commands?

But even if we suppose he taught the commands of God, still he would not be the vicegerent of God. For a vicegerent is one who acts for and instead of a prince in his absence. Therefore, where his vicegerent reigns, there is no God; and where God is present, there is no need of a vicegerent, as there are only ministers and servants of God.

In the Pope, therefore is fulfilled the prediction of Paul. We see the man of sin, the Son of perdition, sitting in the holy place, shewing himself as God, opposing and exalting himself above all the Word and worship of God……..

The Papacy is the Little Horn of Daniel 7

Daniel has most clearly foretold [the deceiving antichristian doctrine of the Antichrist] in chapter 7, verse 8, when he says that after the dreadful and terrible beast that had ten horns, which all agree is the Roman Empire, he considered, and Behold there came up among them another little horn. This, as we have previously stated, is the Papal kingdom rising up in the middle of the Roman Empire. In this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking terrible things. These eyes…are the prudence and wisdom of the flesh, and his mouth is uttering blasphemies against Christ!……

Antichrist Does Not Allow Marriage

Daniel, speaking of the same monster [Antichrist], says in chapter xi., And he shall not regard the God of his fathers; neither shall he regard the desire of women, nor any God. In this is manifest that the word regard denotes to his concern, affection or bent of mind…..He shall not regard these, making laws contrary to God and the desire of women or marriage. Nor shall he care at the least of the impossibility of a man’s bearing the burden of being denied matrimony, which is the desire of women….

But [Antichrist’s] efficacy [power] shall be strengthened, but not by his own efficacy [power], (Daniel 8:24).

The apostle Paul attributes this efficacy to Satan himself, 2 Thess. ii.9, where he says, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders. As Christ strengthened the faith and the word with signs and wonders which he wrought when setting up his kingdom by his own power and efficacy, so does this adversary and mimic of Christ set about to establish his faces or appearances with lying wonders. This he does with an efficacy not his own. [Luther then lists Antichrist’s signs and lying wonders.]

1. The Church of Rome’s perpetual contention with the Greek Church.

2. Threatenings of excommunication.

3. Transferring the Roman Empire from the Greeks to the Germans.

4. Purgatory, and the buying and selling of indulgences.

5. Pilgrimages.

6. Worship of the saints.

7. His laws which countermand the law of God.

8. Use of the secular arm to do his bidding.

Luther Cites Peter’s Epistle – 2 Peter 2 – Warning of False Teachers

….In confirmation of these things, let us hear the apostle Peter speak in the severest words, wherein he paints a portraiture of Popery in the most striking and descriptive colors. After he had foretold that there should be false teachers, who through covetousness should make merchandise of the people of Christ, who should bring in damnable heresies, who should draw many away to follow them in their pernicious ways, denying the Lord who bought them, he endeavors to strike with terror these by three awful examples:

1. The angels that sinned.

2. The old world [drowned in the flood].

3. Sodom and Gomorrah.

All these, the apostle shows, were punished of God, as an example unto those who should afterwards live ungodly. Applying these same things, therefore, to those false teachers, he says, But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, etc.

Now Peter is not speaking of those who do not obey bishops. Rather his whole discourse concerns those false teachers, and these bishops and cardinals themselves, as well as the Pope – for these are they of whom this epistle expressly speaks.

Catholic Clergy Live Unclean Lives

In the first place, who does not see that this Papist sect, above all men, walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness? And what else can they do, but walk after the flesh, since they are prohibited from marriage, while wallowing in sloth and wealth? They are not actively employed in labor like other men, and therefore their iniquity stands out like obesity. Who but the Papist teachers answer to this description? As they continually multiply their numbers of clergy, while forbidding marriage, – and both by laws of the Pope! – no one knows what scenes of lust are going on in the Church. For so great is their lust of uncleanness – it is awful to say! – that the female sex is not enough to satisfy them!

The Pope Despises Government

Furthermore, [in fulfillment of 2 Peter 2:10], the Pope and Papists despise government. And what is government, but princes and magistrates? …..As servants of the Church of Christ, bishops are not to despise governments by exempting themselves from paying tribute, from all subjection to, and not bearing the burdens of the civil government……In a word, the Pope is so far from rendering honor to the powers that be, that it is the greatest favor when he permits them to kiss his blessed feet! Indeed, he exalts each one of his mass-priests and monks above all the potentates of the world, though each is more ignorant than any wooden post, and more wickedly debauched than any pimp….And the Pope, because of his spiritual office, excels every emperor, as much as the sun’s radiance excels that of the moon. So it is that these lowest dregs of men are raised on high by the authority and influence of the Pope, while the higher powers ordained of God are despised, being compelled to honor those idols who, in reality, owe them the honor…..

Christ Not Limited to Certain Sacred Places or Church Buildings

Christ has taken away all difference of places and will be worshipped everywhere. He will not have one place to be sacred, while another profane. Rather, he will have all things the same everywhere. Nor is it possible to believe, hope, or love better or more steadfastly in a Church, choir loft, altar, or church yard, than it is in a barn, vineyard, tavern or bed. Nay, the martyrs worshipped Christ in prison…..

Mice Dwell in Roman Catholic Churches – Not Christ

The bishops are themselves no more than idols and bug-bears,[2] for they lay aside the Word, being bishops in title and garments only. Therefore, they ought to [limit their office] to anointing bells, wood and stone, sprinkling them with water, in which mice, spiders and birds may dwell, but not Christ. Thus, the wooden bishop consecrates wood; stone consecrates stone, idol consecrates idol……

1 Timothy 4:3 Proof Pope is the Antichrist

Christ made no difference between meats and days – as the Apostle teaches us in many places – nor will he have the regarding or disregarding meats or days sinful. For it is not the use, but the immoderate desire and abuse of meats which the Gospel condemns. But this all-holy adversary of Christ, having no regard for the distinction between use and abuse, prohibits, by divine authority and in the name of God, the eating of flesh, milk, eggs, butter and the like during fast days. In so doing, he does not restrain the abuse or inordinate desire, but instead prohibits the lawful use of meats. And thus did Paul prophesy of him, 1 Timothy 4:3, Forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving…..For to commit murder, or adultery, or to defraud, is considered a much lesser offence than the crime of eating eggs, butter, milk or flesh on fast days…..When, therefore, the Pope makes a sin that which Christ will not have to be sin, and makes that righteousness which Christ will not have to be righteousness; when he binds consciences where Christ has liberated them, and puts sin in the place of grace, and the law in the place of faith, can you no longer doubt that he is the very ANTICHRIST and abomination standing where he ought not? For are not Christ and he directly opposed to each other?……

Monks and Friars Sodomites

[Like the Romans and Jews] who, not satisfied with the binding and crucifixion of Christ, released the robber Barabbas, so, too, do the Pope’s laws exempt, by privileges, herds of clericals from all the burdens and labors of men, that they may live in ease, safety and opulence with all the voluptuous security of Sodom. No one must reprove, condemn or punish them when they commit sin – only the Pope, who does not wish to do so. Hence, their iniquities swell like fat, for their rapes, adulteries, fornications, uncleanness, avarice, fraud, craft and the whole chaos of their crimes abound, reigning with impunity destitute of the fear of God or man. If anyone attempts to accuse or rebuke them, he is immediately condemned as guilty of sacrilege and treason against the privileges and majesty of the Pope!……

And he shall magnify himself in his heart – Daniel 8:25

And so this prophecy comes to pass: for the Pope considers himself above everyone, demanding from all what pleases him. He subjects all to himself, scarcely allowing the most exalted kings to kiss his holy feet! There is no other whom he considers an equal, no matter how eminent in godliness or learning. And though he is not an apostle, but a mere bishop, an order far inferior to that of Apostle, yet he makes himself equal to St. Peter! He makes himself king of all, sovereign director of all things spiritual and temporal: nay, lord of the whole world……

Thus, by his pompous pride and luxurious living, which exceeds the luxury of the whole world, the vicar of the once poor Christ, the successor of the fisherman Peter, does he represent his predecessors! He deposes princes, kings, bishops – everyone that is great and exalted in the world – according to his mere lusts, making himself the higher and more exalted……

It is not in vain that Daniel added, And he shall magnify himself in his heart, for it is not of God or God’s will that he is so exalted, but in his own heart, in his own opinion, by his own temerity, by craft………

Pope Claims to be Pontifex Maximus

Nor is this abominable wretch contented with being above all, lord over all upon the earth, as his title, PONTIFEX SUMMUS ET MAXIMUS, The Highest and Greatest Pontiff, but he has now begun to lay his hands upon purgatory, daring to command the angels….

And he shall stand up to against the Prince of Princes

Here is the awful climax! The Pope stands up against Christ himself, and sets aside his Word by putting his own word in its stead! And this is what the apostle saith, II Thess. 2:4, 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, showing himself that he is God. This is especially evinced when the Pope condemned the truth of the Word of God at Constance, in the person of John Huss. And he continues in the same determined spirit of opposing and condemning that truth unto this day. Not that he is able to stand against the person of Christ, but he will still oppose himself; that is, he will decree in opposition to Christ and his Word.

And here is the Pope’s goal! Having extinguished the Word of God, destroyed faith, set aside the Scriptures and writings of the apostles, and made himself higher than the angels, there was no height left him to climb unto, but to the Lord God himself!….

But he shall be broken without hand

The apostle describes this Pope’s destruction thus, Whom the Lord shall destroy with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, etc., II Thess. 2:8. The laity, therefore, shall not destroy the Pope and his kingdom, though that is what he continually and miserably fears. No, he and his wicked rabble are not deserving of so light a punishment. These shall be preserved until the coming of Christ – whose most bitter enemies they are and ever have been…..

Luther’s Conclusion

By this book of mine, if I am not mistaken, I have now given the talkers and writers plenty of work, though I hope I have brought things to the point that they feel themselves vanquished by the persevering way in which I have pressed the matter home, rushing about my ears with clamor, fury, fraud, and united strength, myself being such a heretic the likes of which the world has never seen. But they will stop their own ears like the adder which refuses to hear the voice of the [snake] charmer. They will take special care not to attack me with the Scriptures, if they answer me in any way at all. Instead, they will cry out, ‘away with such a fellow from off the earth!’ I know and am persuaded, however, that our Lord Jesus Christ lives and reigns. Therefore, supported by this knowledge and this persuasion, I fear not thousands and thousands of papists: for greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world, I John iv.4.

Let us, therefore, pray that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ would at length come and see us again, according to his mighty and wonderful works, and hasten that day of the glorious appearing of his Son which he has promised; in which he has declared that this wicked one, this man of sin and son of perdition shall be destroyed, at which time he will put an end to all the workings of the signs and lying wonders of Satan, by which that wicked spirit ruins thousands of souls every moment, dragging them away into hell……

[1] Disciples of Thomas Aquinas.
[2] Imaginary goblins which provoke fear in children.


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