The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


II. Oecolampadius-Stone Is God’s Kingdom; Little Horn Is Papacy

JOHANN OECOLAMPADIUS (1482-1531), leading figure of the Reformation in Basel, was born at Weinsberg. He studied law in Bologna, and philology, philosophy, and theology in Heidelberg and Tubingen. He was one of the best-trained thinkers of his time, specializing in Greek and Hebrew, and receiving M.A. and D.D. degrees. After 1515 he was several times in Basel, once helping Erasmus in his edition of the New Testament. In 1518 he went to Augsburg and spoke frankly in favor of Luther when the latter was summoned before Cajetan. In 1520 he entered a convent for a short time, but dared to make such unorthodox utterances that they did not enjoy his presence. For instance; “It is not evil to invoke intercessors, but no intercessor can be so merciful as Christ, who is the source of all mercy.” In 1522 he became chaplain for Franz von Sickingen. Persuaded by Luther’s writings, he attacked Mariolatry, the abuses of the confessional, and transubstantiation. From the end of 1522 we find him in Basel, and he soon became the leading figure of the Reformation there. Like Zwingli, Oecolampadius preached on whole books of the Bible. And he defended the Apocalypse against the depreciations of Luther and Zwingli. He contended that it gives a more extensive description of the Little Horn of Daniel 7. The bulk of his writings have never been collected.” 9 PFF2 336.3


In his commentary on the book of Daniel, which he believed contains the divine timetable, Oecolampadius gives the usual interpretation of chapter 2-Babylonia, Persia, Macedonia, and Rome—with the kingdom of God, which is compared to a stone, finally crushing the whole image. 10 The four beasts of Daniel 7 represent the same four powers of prophecy, with the ten horns as ten kingdoms of Europe, including Spain, England, France, Bohemia, and Hungary.” 11 On the Little Horn he takes issue with Polychronius’ fifth-century view that Antiochus is the power symbolized, holding rather that it is the Antichrist (the same as the two-horned beast of Revelation 13, and Paul’s Man of Sin)-he triple-crowned pope and Mohammed, although Antichrist includes whoever, sitting in the place of God, blasphemes His name and persecutes the church. 12 PFF2 337.1


The seventy weeks are reckoned by Oecolampadius from several different points to somewhere near the time of Christ; however, the last week is not considered seven years, but a long period extending to the Jewish wars under the reign of Hadrian. 13 And Daniel 11 climaxes with the career of Antichrist. 14 PFF2 337.2