Luther on the Papacy and Islam as the Antichrist of Daniel 11:36
In the next chapters, Daniel (10:5f to 12:5f) saw and heard the pre-incarnate Christ — engaging in dialogue with two glorious angels. Again came a prediction — inter alios, also of the later-time or latter-day Roman ruler of Daniel 8:23f. For in Daniel 11:36, it is recorded that 'the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods' etc. Compare also, Second Thessalonians 2:3f.
Dr. Luther calls what we would term Daniel 11:36 to 12:13, “the twelfth chapter of Daniel.” This, he explains, “as all teachers unanimously interpret it — under the name of ‘Antiochus’ — has to do wholly with the Antichrist and with the last times in which we are living,” viz. Luther’s own years around 1530 A.D.
“It is the clear Gospel which now indicates and discloses plainly to everyone just who the real ‘Antiochus’ is. It identifies clearly, him who has magnified himself above every god…. The Prophet here reckons among the foremost crimes of the Antichrist, that he does not have regard for the love of women” – cf. the papal enforcement of celibacy for his clergy.
Daniel 11:36f, claimed Luther, "identifies clearly him who has magnified himself above every god, who has not simply failed have regard to the love of women — that is, the estate of marriage — but who has actually forbidden it [at least to some]. In its place,” explained the Reformer — this ‘man of sin’ [viz. the Pope] has been "filling the World with the idolatrous worship of his own god and with carnal unchastity."
Indeed, that self-magnifying Antichrist, Luther is adamant, "has parcelled out the treasures and possessions on Earth, etc. [Daniel 11:36-39 cf. Second Thessalonians 2:3-8]. For the ‘love of women’ [Daniel 11:37]…must mean that pure and honourable love of women [Liebe zu Weibern] which God created and commanded — namely married love. Since the Prophet here reckons among the foremost crimes of the Antichrist, that he has no regard for the love of women."
Luther now applies Daniel 11:36 to the Romish Papacy. "Here I am now, being damned by the 'most holy father' [sic]…who will call me a ‘Picardist’ [alias one of the ‘Bohemian Brethren’] and a Wycliffite!
Against this — I will, however, console myself from the Prophet Daniel.
“He thus directs his prophecy in chapter eleven (vv. 38f) against this Antichrist: 'he shall honour the god of forces…. A god whom his fathers knew not, shall he honour — with gold and silver and with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in most strongholds, with a strange god [the Romish Mass] whom he shall acknowledge!'"27
"The 'king'" in Dan. 11:36, explains Rev. Professor Martin Luther,28 "clearly depicts the Pope, who unashamedly bellows forth his decretals…. As the sun is over the moon, so too is the Pope over the emperor…. Not the emperor but the Pope is emperor; for the emperor like a vassal kisses the Pope's feet…. The latter puts himself above Holy Scripture…. As [the Prophet] Daniel says [11:36], ‘against the God of gods’…and, through God’s wrath, over the ungrateful World. As St. Paul says in Second Thessalonians 2 [vs. 11], 'God shall send strong delusion!'"
"Other tyrants persecuting God's Word, have done so in ignorance. This one does it knowingly! While calling Holy Scripture God's Word — he wishes to lord over it…. Hence, he may be called an earthly god – yes, a god of all gods, a lord of all lords, a king over all kings. Not purely man, but mixed with god, or a deified man just like Christ Himself is God and man — Whose vicar he wishes to be, and over Whom he would exalt himself."