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"Every one hates the Papacy — except those who want to derive advantage from it. It is properly called ‘the abomination.’ Thus, the Pope has ensnared all the World in superstition and a false conscience…. Woe unto you, you abominable abomination! Come, Lord Jesus Christ, and deliver us from Antichrist! Cast his throne into the abyss of hell, as he has deserved!
"The Thomistic heresy," declares Luther,38 is precisely the same as that which Daniel (8:23) says has an ‘unashamed face’ (alias a ‘fierce countenance’). Thus, that prophet announces how this papal monarch or "king will arise at the termination of the four kingdoms — of which Rome, mighty with the sword, is one. Thus Daniel doubtless wishes to indicate that the tyranny of the Pope would commence — when the Roman Empire had declined and fallen."
Elaborating also on Daniel 8:23, Paul himself forecast that the powerful Roman Empire — till its own demise around A.D. 476 — would for a long time retard or ‘hold back’ the appearance of the emerging Romish Papacy. Explains Luther: "The Apostle similarly predicts, Second Thessalonians 2:8, that what holds it back — will continue to hold it back, until the former has been removed. Then the man of sin can be disclosed…. Paul says, Second Thessalonians 2:10-12, that the same ‘son of perdition’ will then come in."
Now this figure is apparently not just a single person, but a whole series or dynasty of persons with the same basic character. Luther explains that "the prophet Daniel [8:23] — and with particular significance — in Hebrew also actually calls them pesha’iym [‘transgressors’]. This actually means perverters or transgressors and apostates from faith….
"Paul, in the aforementioned saying, speaks of this abundantly. There he states [Second Thessalonians 2:10-12]: ‘they shall not receive the love of truth.’ Also again: ‘they shall not believe the truth’ — but ‘shall believe the lie’…. This [papal] king…will rule only with his own human doctrine." Though predicted in Scripture — the Pope stands against this Scripture!
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Daniel (8:23) himself declared: ‘In the latter time…, a king of fierce countenance…shall stand up.’ Observes Luther:39 "Jerome [around 380f A.D.] translated it correctly, thus: ‘a king with a shameless face [impudens facie].’ Yet we take it straight from the Hebrew words: ‘oz-paaniym. This means: ‘mighty in appearance’….
"That he would indeed arise, is not said about one person — but about the whole kingdom; and about his successors. Nor does it mean that this kingdom would last for just a short time. Christ too says the same: the abomination would stand in the holy city — that is, it would be strengthened firmly and securely; and with much support. Matthew 24:15. Even Paul does not say this ‘son of perdition’ would soon go away — but that he ‘keeps on sitting enthroned in the temple of God.’ Second Thessalonians 2:3-4."
In Daniel 8:25, one further reads: ‘through his [papal] politics also, he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many. He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand!’
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Here Luther remarks:40 "Hence it is obvious and clear, that this king must appear after Christ has already been preached." For Daniel (8:25) here declared that this Antichristian king ‘shall also stand up against the Prince of princes’ — alias against Jehovah-Jesus.
Moreover, Antichrist stands up also against the real message of Christianity. For the true "illumination of the Gospel," observes Luther,40 "will be darkened by the transgressions." Such would occur when — in that ‘latter time’ — the ‘fierce’ king will stand up, ‘understanding dark sentences’ alias the Vatican’s vaticinations or obscure prophesyings. Daniel 8:23f.