Excerpts From:


By Martin Luther

A. D. 1521

Translated by The Rev. Henry Cole[1]

delineating the apostasy of the English Churches Rome-ward

“……[W]e shall not, we hope, be performing an altogether useless service in our day and generation, by offering to the friends of revealed truth, to the real patriots of Britain, to the reverers of the Scripture-founded institutions of their protestant ancestors, and to our enemies themselves, the following picture of the GREAT WHORE of Churches and Kingdoms, delineated in revealed colours by that mighty antagonist of the Pope, and that honoured servant of God, MARTIN LUTHER." [Rev. Cole then laments the apostate ecumenical condition of his beloved country and Church, citing Micah 7:2-3. The admission of the WHORE into the counsels of the realm is contrary to the express command of God.] ……"The wolf is now in the fold. We are now fallen into the net of God's righteous visitation…..Did [the ministers of God's Word] with one voice cry aloud and show the people the transgression, and warn against it? Did those professing to hold that office show themselves watchmen? Did they testify from the word, of which they stood before the world as the ministers, God's revealed will unto all nations concerning the GREAT WHORE of Churches and of Kingdoms?……No! not so! The majority of the Churches, of all denominations, who hold the profession and designation of evangelical, as self distinctive of a more exalted Gospel faith and practice, were the most prominent applauders, advisors, aiders and instigators of the sin!…….."

Cole Interprets Mark of the Beast

 "………And though such professing ministers and Churches deny the religious, or Church nature, of the insidious aims of the MOTHER OF HARLOTS, with reference to the realm of this land; and though they deny that the Scriptures contain any revealed command concerning these things; it might be well for them not to look with contempt upon the following and like portions of the Divine word: If any man shall worship the BEAST and his image, and receive his mark on his forehead, (openly profess its faith and doctrine); or in his hand, (secretly or covertly aid its pretensions); the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation: and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb, Rev. 14: 9-10.

Cole Laments Apostasy in the Church of England

"Nor does our Established Church present a condition of less degeneracy, nor a less abundant cause for lamentation and grief. In her were found, in her beginning, England's principal witnesses for God, against the ABOMINATION of Rome…..But alas! How she is fallen from what she was when her founders, her members, and her servants of God, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, were her angels, Rev. 2:1, etc……What is there now to be seen in her but a rapid decline of spiritual worship and divine testimony, and as rapid a growth of carnality, formality and veniality in their stead?….."

The Lord Never Without a Witness Against the Man of Sin

 "God, however, has never left the earth without witness against this MAN OF SIN since the time of his being 'revealed,' 2 Thess. 2:3. Luther was especially distinguished and honoured of the Most High, and is beloved by all the Churches of Christ for the testimony which he bore. And every true witness for God has borne the same testimony from Huss, Luther, & etc., down to us. And the same true witnesses bore the same testimony when our land was precipitated thus, by misguided counsellors and false Churches, into her great transgression: and the same witnesses bare the same testimony and warning now, against all the multiplying deceptions and encroachments of this notorious ABOMINATION!

Cole and Other Witnesses Not Partakers of the Harlot's Plagues

 "Whatsoever, therefore, the iniquity or ignorance of statesmen, or the appalling faith and practice of professing Churches have done, are doing, or may do, to work their nation's subjection to the righteous anger of the offended Majesty of heaven, God's true witnesses and servants are clear from the blood of all men, and have peace in themselves. What consequences soever of the nation's sin may fall upon her, they shall not be partakers of the 'plagues' that shall be the portion of those who have embraced the HARLOT. They know, and have obeyed the voice of warning and instruction, and of mercy which saith, Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her plagues, Rev. 18:4. They weep, they weep, they are afflicted: but they have the testimony of a good conscience and the approbation of heaven smiling thereon…….they worship God for the mercy of guiding them into the truth from sin and delusion; for giving them a satisfactory knowledge of, and a love and union with, the true Church of Christ……."

 "With these few prefatory reflections, arising out of the day and times of our land and nation, the Reader is now left to into that divine and remarkable testimony of Luther against the Papal Church and kingdom contained in the pages which follow…."

The Translator

June 18, 1836

Martin Luther's Revelation of Antichrist

 "……….I confess myself that I had not, at my beginning, clear views of the Indulgences, the Pope, the Roman Church, the Councils, the Universities, the Canons, & etc. And therefore, in my subsequent works, my Babylonish Captivity and my Declaration against the Bull, I have retracted what I advanced erroneously, from want of knowledge and experience, in my former works; and he that will, may read what I have there said. But, my friend, Catharinus, you are a day after the fair (as is the saying) in bringing those old matters forward. The question now is not, whether there is any Pope: if that be the question, that first part of subject inquiry is already answered and done with. We have, moreover, answered this question, 'What is the Pope?' We have concluded that 'The Pope is ANTICHRIST.' Out of this, therefore, flows a remaining and last subject of enquiry……..For the flame of my spirit having entered upon this third part, under (I believe) divine direction, has set fire to all the ordinances of the Pope, that very holy Father in Christ, that vice-god upon earth, and burnt them up as being the dogmas of ANTICHRIST……"

Luther refutes the Roman Catholic Church teaching that Peter is the rock upon which the Church of Christ is founded.

"………..I conclude, therefore, against thee….that the words of Christ, Matt. 16, refer to no person whatsoever, but to that CHURCH alone which is built in the SPIRIT upon the ROCK CHRIST, not upon the Pope, nor upon the Church of Rome. For, the moment you granted that the Pope was not sinless, that moment you conceded that he was neither the Rock nor the Church, but a sink of sin and a synagogue of Satan. …….And now we observe, in consequence, that as this Rock is sinless, invisible, spiritual, and seen only by faith; so, of necessity, this CHURCH is sinless, invisible, spiritual and seen only by faith: for the Foundation (as we say) must be of the same material, and of a piece with the Building. ------ I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH: which faith is that which is not seen. Wherefore, that passage in St. Matthew, Thou art Peter, has not the least harmony or agreement with Popery or its visible Church: nay, it overturns it from the very foundation, and by the evidence proves it to be the synagogue of Satan………..the passage, Thou art Peter, was not spoken to Peter alone….." [because the keys were given to all the Apostles, Matt. 18:18; John 20].

Luther's View of the Church Fathers

"………But you [Catharinus] will say, 'Do you not confess then that there was error among so many Fathers [in not rightly interpreting to whom Christ gave His keys]? I confess that, as men, they often erred; and I pardon, and carefully avoid, their errors. But as for you, like so many unclean beasts that neither part the hoof nor chew the cud, you swallow down everything; so that, though as good men they erred, as heretics you teach those errors. Error does not make a heretic, but the maintaining of that error in the face of conviction does. And here it is that the whole of your building falls to the ground: you depend more upon what the Fathers say than upon what Christ saith……Nay, you actually pass by those parts of the Fathers that are sound, and scrape together those that are erroneous -- poor witless fool!………..I want none of the subtle distinctions and the idle dreams with which your whole book is crammed; I want the Scriptures, from whose authority, I am certain, you will bring nothing to support your heresy on this side of doomsday………"

Christ and Antichrist Contrasted

"………..Pope, the sinner, is a Minister of the Devil!

The Church of the Pope is the synagogue of Satan!

Christ, the Righteous, is King of Righteousness!

The Church of Christ is the Communion of the Saints!”

"……………..[Matthew 16 turned] against you has vanquished you utterly and triumphed over you! In so doing the whole fabric of your Papacy falls to the ground, and is shown to be nothing but a lie, and a deception imposed upon the world; you the mockers of the people of God, the perverters of the word of God, stand openly exposed in the sight of all men; and the decrees of the Papists are proved by the evidence to be the impious dogmas of ANTICHRIST! ….For now the curtain that hid your impieties is thus drawn aside, there is discovered errors, frauds, crimes of every iniquity, a very hell! – Which till now you had concealed behind this thin, futile fig-leaf – PAPACY! So that, in truth, the Papacy is, and can be, nothing else than that very kingdom of the notorious ANTICHRIST. For this is the reason why many who had worshipped this abomination standing in the holy place wondered how such monstrous iniquities could proceed from that seat which boasted of an administration so perfectly holy…….”

How Then is the Church Known?

“…….By what sign, then, shall I know the Church? For it is necessary that some visible sign should be given, in order that we might assemble together to hear the word of God. I answer -- A sign is necessary, and that sign we have; viz. baptism, bread, (the breaking of bread) and above all, the Gospel. Wherever you see baptism, the bread, and the Gospel administered under the influence of the Holy Spirit, in whatever place, and among whatever persons it may be, there, to a certainty, is the Church; for it is by, and in these signs, that Christ will have us unite; as he saith Ephesians, iv., One Lord, one faith, one baptism. Where there is the same Gospel, there is the same faith, the same hope, the same love, the same spirit, and indeed, the same everything. This is not an unity of place, nor of person, nor of external things, nor of bodies, but an unity of spirit, which St. Paul commands us to endeavour to keep. But wherever you see that the Gospel is not, (as in the synagogue of the Papists and Thomasians), there to a certainty the Church is not, (if we except a few babes, and simple souls), although they baptize and partake of the altar; but be assured it is a Babylon full of witches, foul hags, owls, bitterns (Trans. Note: hungry water-birds of prey that have a note as harsh and loud as the braying of an ass); or, in other words full of our eminent doctors and divines. Hence, where the Gospel is not, the Church is not: for the Gospel (more particularly than baptism and bread) is the most certain, and the most glorious symbol of the Church: for it is by the Gospel alone the Church is conceived, begotten, formed, nourished, brought up, fed, clothed, adorned, strengthened, armed, and preserved: in a word, the whole life and substance of the Church is the Word of God: as Christ saith, By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live.……….”

Papal Church Prophesied in Old and New Testament

“………I do not deny, the existence of the Papistical Church, nor its power! No, no! for there is no one thing (Christ excepted) concerning which so much is said in the New Testament, nor indeed in the Old. And therefore, why should I not, in honour of my friend Catharinus, and in duty to that most holy vice-god in Christ, the Pope, proceed to show the existence of that pre-eminent power, from solid and copious Scripture testimony; in order that I may stop the mouths of all who dare insultingly deny that it is to be proved by the divine record? I will, therefore, proceed to prove the existence of the Papal Church, and that most effec­tually: and, as principal testimony, let me bring forward Daniel, who has, in chap. viii. these words, , as they are rendered from the Hebrew verbatim!

"And after their kingdom, when prevarications (or transgressions), shall have sunk them into darkness, there shall stand up A KING powerful IN FACES, and intelligent of PROPOSITIONS; and his efficacy shall be strengthened, but not by his own efficacy. And he shall destroy wonderful things; and shall prosper and shall practice; and shall destroy the mighty, and the people of the saints. And all shall appeal to him for judgment; and his craft shall prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and in his success he shall destroy many. And he shall stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken to pieces without hand."

Daniel 8:23-25

Antichrist a Succession of Men – Not One Single Person

“In the first place, no regard is to be paid to those who would understand this and similar places in the prophets as having reference to one person only; for such know not, that the manner of the prophets is to signify or represent, under one person, any whole kingdom in a body. Hence, they would mistakenly make ANTICHRIST whom Paul calls the man of sin, and the son of perdition, to be one person; whereas the apostle would have the whole body and chaos of those impious men, and -the whole succession of those that reign, to be understood as ANTICHRIST. Thus, in Daniel viii. The ‘ram’ sig­nifies the kingdom of the Persians, the 'goat’ the kingdom of the Grecians.

“And when the prophet says that this KING should stand up at the end of the four kingdoms, of which the last is the Roman, the Iron Kingdom, he plainly intimates this, -- that the tyranny of the Pope began in the decline of the Roman empire. And it actually arose out of the Roman empire and grew up in its place; as is evident from all history, as present experience de­monstrates, and as Paul also predicted, 2 Thess. ii: that he that then held power would hold it, until he should be taken out of the way; and that then that wicked one should be revealed, &c. But the name of the Roman empire was translated to the Germans, when no part of the Roman; empire any longer remained. And this was the opportune moment that was seized by that man of sin for raising himself above all kings, above all bishops, yea, above the heaven and the earth: and thus was his kingdom strengthened in his hand, and a diploma was also drawn out to confirm this lie: not so much lying in itself, as stupid, from the grant of Constantine. 

Luther Equates the Falling Away of 2 Thess. 2 with the Departing of the Faith in 1 Timothy 4

“…..In these expressions [Paul] sets forth the whole error of doctrines, of opinions, of faith, and of apostasy: according as he also predicted, ‘Unless there shall come a falling away first,’ and as he speaks also to 1 Tim. iv. ‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and to doctrines of devils.’ And again, ‘And they shall turn away their ears from the truth,’ in which place, according to his frequent custom he calls the faith of Christ ‘the truth’……

“From the whole of which, it is evident, that Daniel, in the [Hebrew] word PESCHAIM, does not intend any sins, or sins in general, but emphatically, those specious sins which fight against Faith and Truth: viz., self-righteousness, superstitions, ceremonies, and those things through which men depart from the faith which alone can truly justify and sanctify; as Paul Col. iii. and in many other places, declares in his cautionary admonitions. And this shows what Paul means in his prophetic words, "they would not receive the love of the truth:" that is, they would not love the truth which is in faith: but with the Children of Israel they would loathe this light food, manna, and would lust after flesh; that is, they would turn to fables and traditions of men. Wherefore, we can by no means apply these [prophetic] iniquities to any of the heretics in old time, but alone to these traditions of men and impious righteousness. For the con­tentions of the heretics of old were confined to the Scriptures. But this KING will reign outside the Scriptures [inventing] his own doctrines…..

Further Proofs Daniel’s Prophecy Predicts the Pope and Not an OT King

“….It is evident therefore, that after [not before the Advent of] Christ, this KING would be preached [in contradistinction to Christ]; and that too against the light of the Gospel, by which the world is illu­minated. Their sinking into darkness by transgressions, proves that they had once been illuminated; which cannot be said of the kingdoms that were before Christ; for as they were never illuminated, they could not become darkened; nor could they thus prevaricate, because they never had walked in the truth.

Luther Perceives Christ, Paul & Peter Predict the Papacy

“But this prophecy must be understood of those times in which Christ foretold, and almost in the same words, that the abomination should be set up, saying, ‘when iniquities shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.’ St. Paul saith, ‘that they all might be damned that received not the love of the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ And Peter, in the most expressive language, declares that there should be in those of the latter times ‘a returning again to their own vomit.’ And he is almost the only one who explains particularly, what that iniquity should is which abounds, by which they should be darkened, saying,

‘But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be also false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, (he had almost said, the son of perdition), even denying the Lord that bought them, and bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness, shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.’

Church Leaders to Blame for Evil Doctrines

“Here Peter speaks exclusively of the government, episcopacy; or, (as they call it) the ecclesiastical administration: and he shows that all this evil will proceed from the ministration of those who sit in the place of God, and who ought to rule the people according to the Word. There­fore, we are to consider the principals and heads of Churches as the authors of all these evils.

False Prophets in the Church are Plagues Judgments of God’s Wrath

“And this is a plague from the wrath of God, when he sends operations of error and false prophets. When he inflicts pestilence, sword, famine, and other corporeal evils, it is a rod of mercy. But when he deprives us of the Word of salvation, and sends the poison of error, it is a scourge of his utmost wrath.

Muslims not Included in this Prophecy

“Daniel might have appeared to speak concerning the Turk, under whose kingdom iniquities darkened the people had not Peter taught us to understand Daniel as speaking of that power which is exercised among the people of God, and of those who sit in the office of theologian and bishop. Moreover, Daniel himself will by and by show that he is speaking concerning those who parallel the false prophets who were among his people in old time. Indeed, these things will not apply to Mohammedans; for as they have rejected baptism and the Gospel, they neither are, nor are considered to be, the people of God….

Let this [truth], therefore, be fixed at the outset ; – the king of which Daniel speaks was to be very great; as great as either the king of Persia or of Greece, or of Rome – after which time his kingdom was to stand in the doctrines of men, among the people of God; and in so doing, against the light of the Gospel.

Now, at the opening of the interpretation of this vision, let us look into the words of Peter. For who does not see that these iniquities apply most exactly to the pastors of the church of Rome. And to whom could Peter address these words, but to his Roman brethren, by whom his books are received, and among whom his authority has the greatest weight?[2] Did not Moses and the prophets speak to their people? And so Paul saith, Romans iii. ‘We know that whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law.’ And saith Peter, there shall be among you. Who are these ‘you’" but those who hear Peter and ac­knowledge him?

Luther Applies the Prophecies and Revelation to His Age

“These words, therefore, belong unto us who are under the Roman Babylon: and in us must be fulfilled all these things which Daniel, Christ, Peter, Paul, Jude, and John in the Revelation have predicted.

Have we not already borne with false teachers these many years, who, having extinguished the Gospel, teach us their own traditions? The whole tribe of bishops, pastors, and divines are here descriptively pointed out; who, with the one same madness, exalt the decrees of the Roman Pontiff and teach them unto men: which Peter most for­cibly and emphatically expresses thus, ‘They shall privily bring in.’ The Greek word is ‘pareisazousin’------they shall bring in together with,’ that is, together with the doctrine of godliness, which they plausibly profess. They shall bring in, by crafty devices, un­godliness; or, in other words, together with the Gospel, they shall craftily bring in that which is their own. For they will not deny the Gospel, but, together with the words of the Gospel, they shall introduce both glosses, interpretations, and decrees of their own invention; and, by imperceptible degrees they shall draw men aside from ‘the King's high-way’ of faith, into sects of work­ mongers, by which they shall corrupt and destroy the Gospel: so that, at last, it shall be rendered useless for the teaching of faith.

Proofs the Prophecies Predict False Christian Prophets

“And thus it was in old time; the false prophets did not deny the name of the Lord; yea, they came in the name of the Lord; they are described by Christ, Matt. xxiv. thus, ‘There shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall seduce many.’ For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ," And again; ‘If they shall say, Lo here is Christ, or, Lo there, believe them not.’ Who are these crying, ‘Lo here and lo there,’ but sects of perdition? And what is this perdition but a destruction of faith and of the Gospel? And there­fore, Paul, Eph. iv., calls these sects, and their doctrines of works, 'an insidious design to deceive.' This is because those impious wretches go about to deceive the people, addressing them in crafty discourses, comprising the word of God, or of Scriptures twisted to their own purpose; or ‘together with the Scriptures’ they infuse their own doctrines, ‘privily brought in,’ and thrown down as stumbling-­blocks in the way…

“So descriptive are the words by which that destructive influence of the false teachers is predicted. For they do not do away completely with the way of Christ, nor do they deny the doctrine of the Gospel, (at least in appearance), and yet, ‘they privily bring in’ with it, divisions, and offences by which they gradually corrupt the way of the Lord and the Gospel, destroying them; yet they holding them in name and title only. And yet, what are all these he­resies speciously professed, but the greatest ungodliness?........

Holy Orders deny the Lord that bought them

“But what does Peter mean when he says, not simply, ‘denying the Lord’, but ‘denying the Lord that bought them’? He most certainly predicts, that Christ should be denied by these [false teachers] in the article of justification. Not that they should openly deny him altogether, (for in that case they could not be called false teachers) nor that they should, together with the doctrine of truth, bring in privily damnable heresies; but that they should, while they professed the Gospel, externally and nominally, consider themselves saved by their various orders and sects, and not through the faith of Christ. For the design of Christ, in purchasing us with his blood, was that we might be justified by faith in him. On the contrary, the design of that infinite variety of religions, works, and sects, is, that, by our devoted services, we might make satis­faction to God, and merit the kingdom of heaven. And the Pope by his sanctions, has confirmed all these sects, as holy orders and saving modes of living; and has rendered them not only specious, but the more destructive; because, by that sanction, confidence in them is established; while, on the other hand, he, as their most holy Father, is strengthened by his beloved sons in his tyranny; and thus, they serve each others purposes as responsively as one ass brays in answer to another. And thus also, while in word they confess, by their works they deny, that Christ is the Lord…

 “But they will say, Our ordinances are good, and holy men delivered them unto us, such as Augustine, Benedict, Bernard, Francis, Dominic and others equally holy. I answer… because these religious ones teach from the fathers the examples of their works alone, and do not teach their faith; hence it happened to them that they blindly rushed upon those things which the fathers did under error, (for it is foretold that in these things ‘the very elect should be deceived’,) embracing the erroneous and external appearance of those things, instead of embracing the good way [of the Gospel of faith]……

How the way of truth is evil spoken of  By Them

“What is that ‘way of truth’? Is it not that which is opposed to the external show and hypocrisy of works? For the apostles instituted no religious orders, but preached unto all that one and only ‘highway’ of faith in Christ.' Faith in Christ, therefore, is the ‘way of truth.’ And who are these that ‘speak evil of,’ (or blaspheme) the way of truth? Why, most assuredly, those who deny the Lord! And do not those, who, under the sanctioning authority of the Roman Pontiff, extol their devoted services, promoting their sects, exalting their orders as holy, righteous and saving? Do not these, I say, take away from the way of truth its praise and its glory giving both to their own orders?

The Pride of the Orders

“And this blasphemy against the way of truth has been carried so far that the clergy, and especially that monkish rabble of religionists, are deemed the only Christians. But as for all the rest of the clergy, they are openly called secular priests, and of this world, and are considered as the common laity, that are out of the way of salvation. And he who enters into an order of religion is boasted of and considered as coming out of the world and secular commonality. And finally, it is deemed absolutely requisite that he who would be saved should enter upon an order of religion. Is not this blaspheming the way of truth? Is not this teaching Christ with a Lo here! Lo there! [when in truth He is not there?]. By [instituting these unscriptural orders] is not the way of faith deserted and contemned, and sects and superstitions of works taken up in its stead? In them must not trust in Christ of necessity perish, and trust in works be embraced? And yet, such hypocrites as these make so great a blaze in the world, and are so held in honor, that, in comparison to them the simple Christians with faith are looked upon as the filth of the streets!

Those Who Oppose the False Teachers are Deemed Antichrist

And furthermore, if anyone should stand up against these ways of human choosing and devising, or, as the apostle calls them, (Col. ii.), will-­worship,’ (that is, religion of one's own choosing), and should condemn them, and should declare that they lead to offences, they tend to destroy faith, to render the Gospel vain, to seduce souls into a [false] confidence of salvation stemming from the sanc­tion given by the Pope, and into glorying in themselves; and that faith alone in Christ is the only way of salvation; --- if, I say, anyone should stand forward and declare and teach these truths, what do you think this holy tribe would do with him? Why, they would call him a hundred, yea a thousand times over, a heretic, an antichrist, erroneous, a schis­matic, a devil, Satan himself!

The Papacy and Church of Rome Fulfill the Prophecies

  “……They exactly accomplish all that has been predicted by the prophets concerning the crafty deceivers, the lying prophets and teachers and pas­tors, the self-righteous, and others of an infinite denomination. For it was foretold, that in the ‘lat­ter days,’ these should more extensively prevail. Again, saith Peter, ‘And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.’ This has been so manifestly fulfilled by bulls, indulgences, decrees, stationaries, collectors, sub-collectors, mass priests, etc., that it needs no interpretive comment. What is the whole ministry of the clergy at this day but a scheme of avarice?.....wallowing in satiety, ease, wealth, power, honour and applause, wearing the garb of sanctity and religion, and make the holy name of God the subservient tool for accomplishing their enormities!

Luther Explains Daniel’s faces or countenances

But let us now return to Daniel and from him learn a little more concerning this abominable kingdom. What has been said is enough for preliminary introduction. Daniel, then, sets before us a kingdom wonderful and monstrous; a kingdom totally different from all the kingdoms that ever have been from the beginning, or ever will be to the end of the world -- a kingdom which prevails by powers and weapons new and unheard of -- which does exploits, new and unheard of; and, in a word, every thing concerning it is new and unheard of. The prophet then says,

There shall stand up a king powerful in coun­tenances, (or faces).

daniel 8:23

“….the expression, ‘shall stand up’ denotes a standing, not of one person, nor for a short time, but a standing of a whole king­dom, a successive kingdom. And so Christ saith, the abomination standing in the holy place, that is, remaining firm, stable, and strengthened by many adherents. And Paul makes that son of perdition, not [temporarily] passing through, but ‘sitting in,’ the temple of God. And the power of this monstrous king ‘wonderful.’ He is not powerful in horns or hoofs or sword or arms, like any other king the Word of God describes; but totally diverse from every other; he is ‘powerful in FACES.’ Nor does Daniel say, ‘powerful in face,’ but ‘powerful in (many) faces.’[3] Hence it is evident, 'that this prophecy cannot be applied to Mahomet, nor to any other kingdom that is obtained by force, or by arms. For kingdoms of this kind are always represented in the Scripture, under the emblems of teeth, horns and hoofs. Nor can it be applied to the kingdom of Christ, which is altogether without face, (‘observation’), and consists in spirit, fighting with a spiritual horn, the Word of God. This kingdom, therefore, can be neither spiritual, nor temporal; nor can it be obtained by spiritual or temporal arms. By what arms, then, is it obtained?!

By faces Daniel Implies ‘Outward Appearances of Holiness’

 By ‘FACES!’ --- That is, by external observation, by appearance, by pomp, etc. In other words, by superstitions, by rites, by ceremo­nies which are designed to catch the eye through the use of robes, meats, persons, buildings, gestures, and the like! Of all ‘faces’ or appearances, [religious] superstition and hypocrisy are the most effectually destructive because they are the show of godliness and the external garb of religion. As such they are the most powerfully attractive and the most engagingly pleasing. The external appearance of profane objects, such as girls, youths, riches, friends, plays, etc., have not half so much power to attract, captivate and entrap, as those things which are [viewed as] sacred. For these, having a pretence to that which is divine, and appearing to be connected with the interests of eternity, captivate and deceive the most powerful, the most holy, the most wise among men; and consequently ‘the very elect!’

The King of Powerful Countenances Prophesies the Papal Antichrist

It is evident, therefore, that this king must be Antichrist; that is, an adversary to Christ and to his kingdom. For Christ is a king powerful in truth; and a most decided adversary to all faces! or external shows and appearances; as may be clearly seen in his Gospel: whereas, this king, being ‘powerful in faces,’ is a most decided adversary to truth. And therefore, it is not without cause, that the apostles Peter and Paul so often impress upon us this word, "truth," and with so much caution deter us from ‘face,’ or show. And hence, Paul to Timothy, expounding this prophecy, says prophetically, ‘There shall be men lovers of themselves,’ etc., ‘having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’

But let us see particularly what this kingdom of the Pope is, and first of all, what these FACES are, as they apply to PERSONS. Was there ever an empire that exhibited so great personages as this kingdom? Behold, first the Pope, ostentati­ously magnifying himself under his three-fold dia­dem, surrounded with all the tumultuous parade of pompous retinue! Next, see the pomp and wealth of the cardinals! And these are not all of one and the same appearance of personage, for this sluggish swinish herd make themselves as so many kings in their different stations. Then observe the patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, suffragans, vicars, presbyters, deacons, canons, officials, scribes! And who could enumerate all the remaining dregs! Indeed, it would be no easy task to recount all the ‘faces’ of just the monks alone. And yet such are the things that form the boasted state and salvation of their Church. Nor do the most sacred ordinances of the most holy Pope demand anything different. On the other hand, Christ and his apostles governed the Church in the most glorious manner by truth

Alone without any of these [unscriptural] things; nor is there any mention of such things either in their Church, or in the Word of God. Now, good reader understandest thou what this ‘king powerful in faces’ is! I am persuaded, if thou doest, and just takest the trouble to compare these things with the words of the apostles of truth, thou will clearly understand what that abomination standing in the holy place is!



[1] London: James Nisbet & Co., 1836.

[2] Luther refers to 1 Peter 5:13, interpreting Babylon to signify Rome.

[3] The King James Version uses the singular, countenance, as does the Septuagint.