Calvin on the Papacy

Calvin’s condemnations of the Romish Papacy from his Commentaries on Daniel (8-9) 

In Daniel 8:23-25, that Prophet predicts that “in the latter time…when the transgressors have come to the full — a king[dom] of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences shall stand up.   And his power shall be mighty…and he shall destroy wonderfully and shall prosper and practise and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.   And through his politics, he shall also cause craft to prosper in his hand….   He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”  

Calvin here comments:67 “Luther…refers this passage to the masks of Antichrist….   Some [others too] think this prophecy refers to Antichrist….    

“These interpreters suppose this passage to unfold that devastation of the Church which would take place after the coming of Christ and the promulgation of the Gospel….   Others…suppose the angel to treat of Antiochus — for the purpose of [pre-]depicting in his person the figure of Antichrist…. 

“It would please me better to see anyone wishing to adapt this prophecy to the present use of the Church…, apply by analogy to Antichrist what is said of Antiochus.   We know that whatever happened to the [Old Testament] Church of old, belongs also to us – because we [in 1561 when Rev. Dr. John Calvin said this] have fallen upon the fullness of times….   With how much reason does the Apostle say there would be false-teachers in the Kingdom of Christ — as there were formerly false-prophets!   (Second Peter 2:1).” 

It is interesting to note that also Luther applies Daniel 8:23-25 not only to the Roman Pope but also to Antiochus Epiphanes.   Indeed, he does the same at Daniel 11:33f.   As we shall see below, so too does Calvin68 — especially in his understanding of the the way St. Paul incorporates Daniel 11:36f  into Second Thessalonians 2:3f (which latter Calvin himself applies to the Pope). 

So too, on Daniel 9:5-18, Calvin comments:69 “In the Papacy…they proudly use God’s Name as approving certain assemblies of theirs.   It is no new thing, then, for a deceiving Church to hide its baseness under this mask…..   A complete repugnance exists between the gratuitous goodness of God and all the merits of man.   How stupid are those who strive to combine them, according to the usual practice of the Papacy!”   Thus Calvin, on Daniel chapters 8 and 9.  

Calvin’s condemnations of the Romish Papacy from his Commentaries on Daniel (11:30) 

In chapter ten, the Prophet next describes events in the last stages of the Third or Grecian World Empire.   Then at Daniel 11:30 he predicts that thereafter, "the ships of ' Chittim' …shall come."    

This means that "the Roman power shall come against" the Hellenistic Antiochus Epiphanes and his successors.  Thus the Geneva Bible of Rev. John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin' s brother -in-law Rev. Dr. William Whittingham.    There, they follow the opinion of Calvin himself (see below). 

The above naval attack by “the ships of Chittim” would occur about a century-and-a-half before the birth of Christ.   But first, after the death of Daniel and the return of some of the Israelites from their exile in Babylon — their previously-destroyed temple would be reconstructed under the Persians.   

That Persian Empire was displaced by the third or the Greek World-Empire.   Then, around B.C. 170-168, Jerusalem' s  temple was desecrated — by the evil Hellenistic tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes.    

The latter was stationed chiefly in Syria.   Thence he constantly ravaged the Holy Land.   Antiochus did that once too often, however, when he swept down toward Egypt.    For Egypt then finally and successfully appealed to the Romans for help against him.  

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