Luther on Islam and the Papacy

“This [papal] Devil does not deceive those who are mischievously misled under Mohammed — but those who do not willingly wish to be deceived; yes, [among] God’s elect in Matthew 24.   For he [Rome’s Pope] uses these words: God; Christ the Son of God; Holy Spirit; Church; Baptism; Sacrament; and everything which Christians believe and teach and which Mohammed rejects.   Yet under such names and apparent offerings of the truth — he pushes through his ‘Koran’…. 

“So too Mohammed.   He brags he did no miracles.    But Christ and Paul predicted that the Pope would sit in God’s Temple; claim to speak for God; and do many false-signs and wonders….    

“Behold how the coarse Devil there [in Islam] and the subtle Devil here [in the Papacy], has trifled with marriage!   The coarse undiligent Mohammed takes all wives, yet has none; the chaste Pope takes no wife, but yet has all wives….   He who has no wife, has all wives.   He who has all wives, has none.   What happens?   This is what happens — the unashamed undiligent Mohammed makes no pretence of chastity,

and (like the whoremonger) takes as many ‘wives’ as he wishes.   Thus he has no marriage and cannot have a marriage and is thus without wife and in no state of matrimony. 

“The lily-white, chaste, modest, virtuous ‘Holy Father’ the Pope gives the semblance of tender virginity and chastity.   He does not desire, with God and with honour, to have a wife.   But how many wives does he take besides — not only whores but also married women and virgins?   Behold his Cardinals, Bishops, Convents, Courtesans, Monasteries, Vicars, Priests, Chaplains, Scholars, and his whole Corps! …   

“The Pope exceeds even Mohammed by far.   For he wishes to launch so much war, murder and bloodshed among the kings; has robbed and stolen and plundered such a large amount of land and people….  Mohammed could almost be ‘holy’ before the World, compared to him!”61   Yet both, each in his own way, are predicted in Matthew chapter 24. For, in a sermon on Matthew 24:15-28, Luther further expresses62 his view that Islam and the Papacy are but two different legs of the same Antichrist.    Indeed, verses 24-26 of that chapter record our Lord Jesus Christ’s prediction that “there shall arise false-christs [like the Antichrists in Rome] and false-prophets” also “in the desert” — just as Mohammed himself did.    

Luther indeed conceded here that “Mohammed boasts that he performs no miracle.”  Yet the great Protestant Reformer also added that “the Antichrist will sit in the temple of God” — as indeed the Moslem Turks have done in e.g. the Church of St. Sofia in Constantinople ever since the fifteenth century.   “Matthew 24:15,24f ” — and Second Thessalonians 2:4. 

So then, to Luther, the Pope in the midst of Christendom is the real Antichrist    Nevertheless, in the broader sense, so too is Islam.  

Luther on the Papacy as the Antichrist of Second Thessalonians two 

In his 1546 Preface to the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians,63 Dr. Luther explained that, "because of misunderstanding, the [51f A.D.] Thessalonians [mis]understood that the Last Day was already at hand….   In chapter 2, he teaches that before the Last Day, the Roman Empire must first pass away — and Antichrist set himself up as a god in Christendom, and seduce the unbelieving World with false doctrines and signs." 

Anent Second Thessalonians 2:3, already in 1520 Luther was declaring64 that "the Pope can be called the 'man of sin' ….   O Christ my Lord, look down…and destroy the Devil' s nest at Rome!  Here sitteth the man of whom St. Paul hath said that he shall exalt himself above Thee, sit[ting] in Thy Church and set[ting] himself up as a god — the man of sin and the son of perdition!   What else is the papal power, than only the teaching and increasing of sin and evil — the leading of souls to damnation under Thy Name and guise?" 

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