The New Spiritual Temple

Martin Luther:

“St. Paul prophesied all this, when in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, he calls him: ‘The man of sin and the son of perdition, he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God.’

But that the Papists want to turn this passage from themselves and say, ‘Christ and Paul are speaking of the temple of Jerusalem, that Antichrist shall sit and rule there,’ amounts to nothing. For Christ says here, that Jerusalem together with the temple shall have an end, and after its destruction it shall never be rebuilt. Therefore since Paul is pointing to the time after the Jewish kingdom, and the destruction of the material temple, it cannot be understood otherwise than of the new spiritual temple, which as he says himself, we are. There, Paul says, the Pope shall sit and be honored, not above God, but above everything that is called God, for the name of God does indeed remain the highest honor, therefore he cannot exalt himself above the true God, but above that which is called God and is worshipped; that is, he is exalted against his preaching and honor, higher than the true God, as is apparent in that so many princes and the world are clinging to him and regard his command higher and greater than the command of God. If any man eats meat contrary to his command or goes out of the impure calling of the priest, monk, or nun, into married life, as God has commanded, or according to the institution of Christ takes the sacrament in both forms; that is the greatest sin. They regard much less stealing, adultery and all open vice against the command of God, and no one is even allowed to punish them for it. Yea, that they themselves defame the Word of God, persecute and kill the Christians, they esteem as the highest service of God, as it is also the highest service they can do for their god, the Pope. Is not this exalting and honoring Antichrist against God, so that if anyone speaks or does anything against this, if he gets into their hands, he must immediately die? I think now that enough has been pictured forth and explained concerning this abomination.”

~Sermons of Martin Luther, Vol. 1, Sermons on Gospel Texts, The Signs on the Day of Judgment, (Ages Software), qtd. in Rand Windburn, “The Abomination of Desolation: Past, Present or Future? Matthew 24:1-15 Examined,” page 21, online at http://www.iconbusters.com/iconbusters/htm/catalogue/abomination_of_desolation.pdf