Luther on Islam and the Papacy

“The Turk is an avowed enemy of Christ[ianity].   But the Pope is not.   He is a secret enemy and persecutor, a false friend.   For this reason, he is all the worse!”4 

This can be traced, down throughout Church History.   Observed Luther in his Table Talk: “At the time of the Apostles and for a long while thereafter the Gospel had free and full course in Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece, and other kingdoms now occupied by the Turk.   But [later,] since people became surfeited with it [the Gospel] in the course of time, and many heresies arose — the blasphemous Mohammed came with his Koran.  >From this time on, these countries let go of Christ — and worshipped the Devil Mohammed.   The same thing happened under the Papacy…. 

 “God’s wrath is greatest when He removes His Word or permits people to despise it.   When the Greeks despised His Word, He took it away and gave them the Turk and Mohammed.    

“To us Germans and to the Italians, He gave the Pope and with him all sorts of horrible things.”5  Yet “the wrath of God has brought Mohammed and the Pope into the World.”6  

Luther on the Roman Empire and the Papacy in Daniel chapter seven 

Luther' s Preface on Daniel continues:7 "In the seventh chapter [of Daniel], begin the visions and prophecies of the future kingdoms — especially of the Kingdom of Christ for Whose sake all these visions came to pass….  The four kingdoms which he [Daniel] pointed out above in chapter 2 [vv. 31-43] in the great image, he now sees again in another form — namely in the four beasts. 

“Most of his attention centres on the fourth beast, the Roman Empire….  Under that very Roman Empire, the greatest event on earth was going to take place — namely, that Christ should come and redeem men…. 

“The third beast, the leopard with four wings and four heads, is the kingdom of Alexander the Great in Greece.   It later broke up into four kingdoms — as we shall hear in the next chapter…. 

"The fourth beast, with the iron teeth, is now the really guilty one!   This is the last, the Roman Empire….   Daniel [7:19-21] here…portrays this Roman Empire in such a way that it should first be broken up into ten kingdoms.   These are the ten ‘ horns’ : Syria, Egypt, Asia [Minor], Greece, [North] Africa, Spain, Gaul, Italy, Germany, England, etc.    

“He also indicates that one small horn shall knock off three among the top ten horns – meaning Mohammad or the Turk who now holds Egypt, Asia, and Greece….   This same little horn will fight the saints and blaspheme Christ — something that we are all experiencing and seeing before our very eyes….   The Turk has had great victories against the Christians, yet denies Christ while elevating his Mohammed….   [Still,] the Turk will not knock off more than these three horns.”   

Perhaps Dr. Luther' s principal views about Daniel chapters 7 and 8, are to be found in his 1521 answer to Ambrosius Catharinus.   That answer carries the longer title: Concerning the Question Whether the Pope is Really the Antichrist.   Its shorter title is: Daniel Eight on the Antichrist.   There, Luther is quite categorical: "The Pope is the Antichrist!"8 

Declared Luther:9 "This Prophet Daniel had also predicted as much — in the 7th chapter, vv. 7-8.  There, the Prophet writes thus: ' After this…fourth beast, dreadful and terrible…with the ten horns' — which in everyone' s opinion means the Roman Empire — ' I considered the horns' ….  ' Behold, there came up among them another little horn' — which is the papal government, arising in the midst of the Roman Empire….   ' Behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man — and a mouth speaking great things' [Daniel 7:20].    These eyes are for ‘ understanding dark sentences’ …. The mouth, for blaspheming Christ, constitutes the ‘ fierce countenance’ [of Daniel 8:23]."    

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