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Martin Luther's Views on the Antichrist

Dennis Pettibone
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  • September 30, 2017
    9:30 AM
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The attitude of American Protestants. Towards the Vatican has changed. Immeasurably during my lifetime one example when Harry Truman tried to appoint Mark Clark. As an ambassador to the Vatican it was the second most unpopular action of is the ministration second only to the firing of General Douglas MacArthur He received a mountain of letters and telegrams. Overwhelmingly opposing it he even had a sermon from his pastor. On how bad it was for Truman to appoint in a bastard Vatican and the heat was so great. That Clarke withdrew his nomination and nobody day or did until the administration of Ronald Reagan to talk about of finding a bass or that he could again and when Reagan appointed ambassador Vatican nobody cared. Or so it seemed. A couple of things have changed first of all you have the cheerful benign Pope John the twenty third. Precise being over the Second Vatican Council. Although he didn't live to see it finished. Referring to Protestants no longer as condemned heretics but separated brother and. And then you have John Paul the second playing a major role in the overthrow of communism in Eastern Europe. And since American Protestants kind of saw communism as The Anti-Christ maybe not literally but that kind of an attitude this was warmly received by many American Protestants. But in the warm afterglow of that it can too it's no longer considered. Proper no longer socially acceptable to describe. The Papacy as the fulfillment. Of collection of prophecies regarding a powerful spiritual tyranny However a professor at Eastern Europe University in Pennsylvania. Men name Dr Philip Carey a person who describes himself as an economically minded Lutheran has made the statement the Reformation wouldn't have happened. Without the conviction that the pope was an acrostic. And then he goes farther suggesting you know nobody believes that anymore. But if the Pope isn't the end of Christ he asks what right do we have to be split since Protestantism owes its very existence to Luther's conviction that the pope was the end of Christ it might be instructive to inquire. Why Luther held this view. And under what circumstances he reached this conclusion we will see that he came to this view slowly and reluctantly. Driven by historical circumstances and theological reflection Luther was probably unaware. Of previous attacks on the papacy made by people like John Haas and John Wycliffe and others when he in the fifteen seventeen drafted his. Ninety five theses moreover. His target at this time was not the papacy. But a greedy Dominican monk. Named your Hon Ted soul who was distorting Catholic doctrine by exaggerating the supposed benefits of indulgences Sylvester precarious the papal cords chief theologian. Transformed the nature of the debate from a question of policy. To one of authority he wrote he who does not accept the doctrine of the Church of Rome and pontiff of Rome as an infallible rule of faith from which the Holy Scriptures to draw their strength is a heretic and by the way it wasn't until eight hundred seventy that the Church of Rome officially said. That the pontiff was infallible but pretty areas centuries before that is making this statement. He said Whoever says the Church of Rome a not do what it's actually doing in the matter of indulgences as a heretic Well Luther. Was ordered to appear in Rome to defend himself which would probably have been an immediate death sentence friends intervened and got. An agreement where he would. Face his accuser in a German city Augsburg and there he was confronted with. Adjutants demand that it recant. Luther asked for Scriptural evidence on why he should recant it wasn't given any he was just told recant and he figured it wouldn't be safe for him to stay around and so he left early. He didn't want to become one of the John house but with Thomas catch it and. Asking him to recant without giving any such scriptural reasons. And with precarious as assertion of papal infallibility. Luther began to consider the possibility. That. These men were the servants of anti-Christ. He shared these suspicions. With a few of his. Like minded believers privately. His suspicion that the ANA Christ reigns in the court of Rome in July fifteenth one thousand as we mentioned last night. Luther took the position that both Pope's and church councils could are now for Luther everything stood under the judgment of scripture. And he was soon using scripture to pass judgment on the pope to things. That Luther read the following year. Weakened his hesitation about openly referring to the Pope as an eye Christ. One was the Renzo Valas treatise on the Donation of Constantine Donation of Constantine was a document that the church would use throughout the High Middle Ages to say that it had authority over kings and rulers and basically the whole earth. So much so that when the Americas were explored. They would actually park a ship off the coast and read in Latin to the Indians. A document saying that the Lord that given the whole earth to Pope Alexander the sixt. And he had divided among the Spanish and the Portuguese and so therefore they should listen to what the Spanish had to say because the ruler of the earth it sort of cleared to paraphrase. And Lorenzo Vala proved through his knowledge of linguistics that this document could not have been written in the time of Constantine. So so Luther began to say that the see that the power of the church was claiming was built on fraud the other document. Was a new. A new edition of priori ases attack on Luther. And in this. He revised it he peed in his idea that the pope was infallible. And he went so far as to say the pope had more authority than scriptures or church councils and he quoted a passage from Kim in law. That said if the pope even if the Pope were so scandalously behave as to lead multitude of souls to the devil he still couldn't be removed shocked at this extreme statement from Rome's chief theologian Luther road to a friend I think everyone in Rome has gone crazy. Luther's treatise to the Christian nobility of the German nation concerning the reform of the Christian estate June thirteenth fifteen twenty repeatedly. To link the papacy to Anna Christ referring to precarious is appalling statement Luther wrote it must have been the very prince of devils who said what is written in canon law if the pope was so scandalously bad as to lead souls in Christ crowds to the devil yet he could not be deposed and then he said is to be feared that this game this is a game of any Christ or a sign that he is close at hand. Luther also attacked as works of Kana Christ papal claims to have power over earthly authorities and even over angels. And in view of the fact that Jesus said My kingdom is not of this world Luther bluntly said no Vickers rule can go beyond his lord's. In August fifteen twenty. Luther learned that Leo was sending a bull which threatened him with excommunication. With this ball Richard Mario's assume observes all ambiguity about the anti-Christ evaporated from Luther's mind. These views culminated in the book the Babylonian captivity of the church. Which mentions several reasons for calling the papacy any Christ. The claim that the pope had the power to make laws withholding the communion cup from the laity and the in the moment of legitimate marriages. And. He said Unless they will abandon their laws and restore to Christ Church as their liberty they are guilty of all the souls that perish under this captivity and the papacy is of truth the kingdom of Bablon yea of the very end of Christ Notice how he gets stronger and stronger as he's going along. And his treatise from the New Testament. He said the Pope does not have a hair's breadth of power to change what Christ has made and whatever of these things he changes he does as a tyrant and an anti-christ will. That threatening bullocks Domani do you know the one of Luther's publish statements it condemned anyone holding or defending these positions and warned Luther that he must return to the bosom of the church within sixty days. Or took the bull and had a bonfire. He replied to the bull. In his defense an explanation of all the articles which repeatedly depicted the Pope as an a Christ arguing. That Christ was the rock of Matthew sixteen eighteen. Luther wrote that interpret ing this text to refer to the papacy was a lying device perverting God's or he called the pope and of Christ for giving people false assurance through adulterants is. Denying the belief that the for that. That repentance was required for forgiveness of sins spreading air around the world. In exchange for monetary wealth and imposing on people the penitential system. He said in both his commands and his prohibitions he's the direct opposite of Christ as befits a true anti-Christ Luther also responded. That the papers Ted burn the good Christians John Huss and Jerome of Prague as well as the godly man of Florence her Alma seven a Rolo thus fulfilling the prophecies concerning and of Christ that He will cast Christians into the oven. Luther promised that the Word of God would crush the Christ without violence yet he fully expected that he would lose his life before this happened. Before this happened because as he wrote to get York's Politan and a crisis holds the kingdom of this world captive. Nevertheless and Vorm see courageously refused to retract anything he had written unless convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by a clear reason. Consequently as we mentioned last night he was declared an outlaw. The fact that he survived despite the Imperial van was due to the intervention of Frederick of Saxony. And him. In protective custody aboard the. Chief reason. That the mature Lutheran the scribe the pope Azana Christ. Was because of Luther's opposition loses opinion that the pope had usurped God's place as lawmaker adding his own rules to those of the Bible burdening consciences with human traditions infringing on Christian Freedom sitting in judgment on God's word. Nullifying the text assuring the forgiveness of sin and giving people a distorted picture of God The pope also supplanted God's place by teaching that the Scriptures derives their authority from the church rather than vice versa and by claiming authority over not only the church but the whole world according to Luther persecuting people for following God's word was another way the pope was asserting assuming God's authority. The false church is all ways a persecutor of the true church he wrote central to Luther's understanding of the pope as and of Christ seizing God's place was second Thessalonians three two verses three and four noting that the villain in the second law Thessalonians to sits in God's temple and exalt himself above God Luther said the Anik Price took his seat in the church not to govern it with divine laws but with human commandments. Luther also found predictions of anti-Christ. In the Book of Revelation. And Daniel. And Turk printing Daniel seven he wrote of the Little Horn arising out of the Roman Empire Evers division was the papal and a Christ. Who believe the Daniel eight eleven and twelve contain blended prophecies applying to both and I Christ and Antiochus the fourth again he also found prophecies of the end of Christ in the book of revelation especially chapters thirteen and seventeen in Revelation thirteen it was the lamb like Beast. Appearing to be Christian yet preaching the doctrines of the dragon from hell. Usurping Christ's role as High Priest Luther said the pope has set his own set up his own clergy claiming that he was imprinting on their souls an indelible character when in actuality he was imprinting them with the mark of the beast using the symbolism of Revelation fourteen seventeen and eighteen Luthor frequently referred to Rome as Babylon and the scarlet Whore of Babylon he praised and thanked the Lord for rescuing him from the scarlet whore the Roman anti-Christ according to Luther in effect regard negated Christ sacrifice and mediation the doctrine of marriage he said nullified God's grace and made Christ died to no purpose Luther said the papacy also negated Christ sacrifice by proclaiming the mass to be a sacrifice. For obtaining forgiveness of sins. As if Christ sacrifice were of no value Luther insisted that Christ is still our only mediator and said he has not abdicated his high priests leave office and he had not transferred it to the pope. Luther suggested that the time of judgement predicted in Daniel seven verses eight and nine was taking place during his lifetime. He found comfort in the prophecies that the last days would be shortened for the sake of the godly and that the church would be preserved in any Christ would not in compass everything with error in falshood he noted that in the second angel's message of Revelation fourteen the Gospel was followed by a voice predicting that Bablon the spiritual papacy would be destroyed at that time those who cling to the papacy against the gospel shall be cast into the wine press of God's wrath during the final year of his life Luther described the pope not only as an a crisis but as the vicar of the devil in his last and most bitter attack on the Pope against the Roman Papacy an institution of the devil Luther referred to the Pope as the most hellish father three times he denounced him as a teacher of lies blasphemies and idolatries and inciter to all kinds of bloodshed a Bravo keeper above all bravo keepers and all vermin and even a true were of were such attacks unchristian Luther didn't think so he said we are incited to anger against the Pope not by personal ambition but by righteous jealousy and for of conscience to vindicate and protect the glory of God. He pointed out the Paul's attack on the false apostles were not slander but judge judging them by the apostasy by Paul's apostolic authority and Luther said when he called the papacy and of Christ he was judging by divine authority on the basis of Galatians one eight. But though we are an angel from heaven preach any other gospel on to you than that which we have preached on to you let him be a cursed although Luther was anti Papal. He was not anti-Catholic. As your pelican puts it although the pope was the end of Christ seated in the temple of God the church in which he was seated was the temple of God By the time of William Miller. Luther's concept of the papacy as the end of Christ was widely spread throughout Protestantism. Like Luther Miller identified the little horn arising out of the Roman Empire as the papal anti-Christ key leaders in the Miller right movement agreed that this little horn Babilon and the Man of Sin were all symbols of the end of Christ the papacy in July eight hundred forty three one Miller right Charles Fitch broaden the definition of Babylon to include not just the papacy but also any protestant churches that rejected the impending pre-millennial advent of Jesus Christ he urged true Christians to come out of Babylon as more and more Miller writes were expelled from the churches because of there had been a spill leaves a chorus of that the NIST preachers join fiche in calling for God's people to come out of the newly identified Protestant Babylon other Adventist thinkers refined this theological trajectory Joe's of Bates brought a new dimension to the identification of the harness the people and of Christ applying the phrase he shall think to change times and laws Daniel seven twenty five to Rome's role in the change of the Sabbath. Like Fitch Bates gave the symbol of Babylon a broader in church or protection than traditional Protestant the traditional Protestant view. He saw it as the professed Christian churches with the form of godliness James White. In line with Luther argued that the papal little horn head trodden to Sanctuary underfoot Daniel eight thirteen by assuming power that the law alone to Christ. Ellen G. White agreed with Luther and Miller that the Little Horn of Daniel seven was the papacy called by Paul the man of sin like Fitch and they should they'd she considered the Babylonian Babylon included the papacy but it was also much more than the papacy using such expressions as the fallen denominational churches and the world loving churches of the last days she said Bablon had been fostering poisonous doctrines such as the natural immortality of the so eternal torment of the wicked in the denial of the preexistence of Christ prior to his birth in Bethlehem and advocating and exulting the first day of the week above God's Holy Sanctified day like Luther Ellen White was anti people but not anti-Catholic. She a prose Protestant apostasy but not the people who belonged to the other Protestant churches she declared the great body of God's people of Christ true followers are still to be found in Babylon. Similar to Luther Ellen White offered multiple interpretations of the word and of Christ Luther suggested there were many anti-Christ but the papacy was the true final anti-Christ. Ellen White. Stated the pope is in reality the vice region of Satan echoes there he is an eye Christ she did not stop there but defined and in Christ as all who exalt themselves against the will and work of God. She even declared whoever presumes to judge the motives of others is again usurping the prerogative of the Son of God. These would be judges and critics are placing themselves on the side of any Christ Ellen White also use the term to describe Satan himself. Impersonating Christ and performing miracles. Quote Anti-Christ will appear is the true Christ men will be deceived in most exalted Satan to the place of God and deify him. Later mainstream Seventh Day Adventist expositors tended to follow in the foot strip so the early denominational pioneers with regard to interpret ing the various And I cry symbols. They echoed Helen White's expanded definition of Babylon Some spoke specifically of more than one anti-Christ while others focus their attention on the papal power when describing the end of Christ Nevertheless there does seem to be a general agreement that the man of sin described in second Thessalonians two. Verses three and four is equated with the little heart of Daniel seven and refers to the papacy Luther's position on the end of Christ is no longer politically correct it is out of sync with the group think of the twenty first century. As haiku Overman says Luther's way of speaking about the end of Christ has become alien to us. Yet the question for us should should not be is this position embarrassing. Politically correct or socially socially acceptable rather it should be instead is it Biblically correct. This view was not politically correct in Luther's day. It was very incorrect politically in the same way. Doesn't lose theirs they opinion could be potentially fatal for the person who adheres to this such a view just as it was for John Huss unlike the situation Luther's time however. Today a person holding this view at least in the United States is unlikely to be literally two to be put to death for these use a prophecy speaks of a future death decree the Catholic Church or ordered the Holy Roman Empire to execute Luther. But because of the way that the Holy Roman Empire had become decentralized. Saxony was able to protect him but of course they executed thousands of people for holding the three views well up until George Bush George W. Bush ran for president. Bob Jones University held that view. And the United States Congress got into the act by passing a resolution that it was wrong to denounce the Pope as an eye Christ. And Jones University back down. Or whether or not there were wounds mentioned in prophecies that certainly have wounded the Catholic Church and I do see in prophecy a situation the suggest that the time will come when people will be repulsed by Babylon and and show contempt upon. But. The deadly wound we usually interpret as what happened in seven hundred ninety eight and of course that fits a time prophecy as well but yes these are other will use certainly. But not deadly Yes. You are. Right. OK. So many opposed to Christ or somebody in the place of Christ. And in the case of the papacy. Certainly the very fact that he takes the title of the vicar of the Son of God. Would suggest that he is in the place of Christ. Taking the place of Christ. Over a century ago. Ellen White Road. That Protestants would take the lead in stretching forth her hand accosts the chasm and grasping the hand of Rome. And that seem like it is it he asked city when she wrote that. You know I mentioned the tremendous outpouring of Wrath when Harry Truman dared to appoint an ambassador to the Vatican. The. Organization now known as Americans united was officially titled Protestants and other Americans United for the separation of church and state. And this is you know in that in the twentieth century long after Ellen White's time. The group think in America. Even when John Kennedy ran for president. Certainly when Al Smith ran for president. Was that there was something un-American about a man whose loyalty was to a small despotic Kingdom in the middle of Italy OK that's a very good question first of all in the Trinity we have a lecture actually two to two part lecture coming up in February I believe it is on the issue of the Trinity. Secondly there is a world of difference between an organization setting a set of rules for its members especially if it's done collectively and organization. With power over the government and the and the power of life and death and if you are excommunicated you are subject to being. Killed. You know that's that's a whole separate issue in America we have the separation of church and state which means among other things that the church doesn't have power over the state. But it also means that churches have the right to determine their own rules of membership. And. He is. Married and he hired. Their grad. Repeat that out of the. You know yes. Yeah. Yes at Luther said that if the Roman Church hadn't done anything more then two for bid the marriage of priest it was it was and a crisis because it's so pressing natural human desires and producing a wealth of immorality and you know if somebody mentioned. The pedophiles and and what do you do when you tell normal man. That he can't ever have sex ever ever ever. You know young man I say OK I will take the vow of chastity but how long will it stay so this is one of the points this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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