From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Marriage of Priests
In their Confutation the adversaries insist that celibacy has been commanded by the councils. We do not find fault with the decrees of the councils, for under certain conditions these allow marriage. Yet we find fault with the laws that the Roman popes have framed since the ancient synods, and contrary to their authority. The popes despise the authority of the synods, while wishing it to appear to others as holy. Therefore, this regulation about perpetual celibacy is characteristic of this new pontifical absolutism—and with good reason. Daniel assigns the contempt of women as a feature of the Antichrist’s kingdom (Dan 11:37).
Pulling It Together
That phrase in Daniel 11:37 may be translated in a couple of ways. Melancthon’s rendering of the Hebrew was that the kingdom of the Antichrist would be known for disdaining the natural desire for women. This is similar to the King James’ and New American Standard: “the desire of women.” However, the phrase might be rendered as the Revised Standard and English Standard do: “the one beloved by women.” Regardless of wording, Daniel paints the “king” whom Melancthon infers to be an Antichrist as one who exalts himself above all people, all gods, all law. This is what Luther rebelled against in the papacy of his time: that the pope elevated himself above even Christ’s word.
Prayer: Help me to honor you, Lord, so that I have no other gods before you. Amen.
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