Preterist, Futurist or Historical view of Bible prophecy

I hold to the Historical (or continuous) view of Bible prophecy. Most protestants have been deceived into believing the Futurist view, which was developed and promoted by Jesuits, even though a slightly different form of it was developed and promoted by John Nelson Darby, one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren denomination. Defenders of Darby deny any connection to the Jesuit formulation.1,2 The difference being Darby promoted his doctrine of Dispensationalism, which included the restoration of the land of Israel  to its rightful owners the Jews (that part I agree with), whereas the Jesuits were strongly anti-Israel. Darby linked the alleged secret Rapture of the Church to the restoration of Israel because once the Christian believers were gone before some Great Tribulation, he reasoned, then God could fulfil prophecy to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, giving Israel a millennium of peace on Earth under Christ’s rule.

However, the Jesuit doctrine and Darby both falsely teach that Jesus will return in a secret Rapture just before the AntiChrist rises to power and rules for 3½ years. Others teach the Preterist view that all prophecy has already been fulfilled within the first few centuries of the Christian era. Both of these latter two methods of interpretation are false and deprive the Church of God’s word in understanding history over the past 1800 years, where the true Church has been oppressed by the false church, the Church of Rome and the real AntiChrist, the Papacy. This article is a repost from James Japan.

Out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century, and even before, there developed three distinct schools of Biblical prophetic interpretation. A close examination as to the origins of these different views shall undoubtedly uncover which position is correct. I hope and pray that this information will help the reader to make a stance for the side of Truth and give strength to take those first steps “out of the midst of Babylon.”

Let us take a look at what several well known authors, who lived while the more modern views were becoming prevalent, had to say on the subject.

“There are three methods of interpreting the book of Revelation– the Praeterist, the Futurist and the Historical (or continuous). The Praeterist maintains that the prophecies in Revelation have already been fulfilled– that they refer chiefly to the triumph of Christianity over Judaism and paganism, signalized in the downfall of Jerusalem and of Rome. Against this view it is urged that if all these prophecies were fulfilled some 1400 years ago (the Western Roman Empire fell A.D. 476), their accomplishment should be so perspicuous as to be universally manifest, which is very far from being the case. The Futurist interpreters refer all the book, except the first three chapters, to events which are yet to come. Against this view it is alleged that it is inconsistent with the repeated declarations of a speedy fulfillment at the beginning and end of the book itself (I.3; xxii.6, 7, 12, 20). Against both these views it is argued that, if either of them is correct, the Christian Church is left without any prophetic guidance in the Scriptures, during the greater part of its existence; while the Jewish church was favored with prophets during the most of its existence.

“The Historical or Continuous expositors believe the Revelation a progressive history of the church from the first century to the end of time. The advocates of this method of interpretation are the most numerous, and among them are such famous writers as Luther, Sir Isaac Newton, Bengel, Faber, Elliot, Wordsworth, Hengstenburg, Alford, Fausset and Lee. The ablest living expositors of this class consider the seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders and seven vials as all synchronous, or contemporaneous, or parallel, a series of cyclical collective pictures, each presenting the entire course of the world (as connected with the church) down to the end of time; just as the seven churches in the first three chapters represent the universal church, the message to each pointing to the second coming of Christ.” Elder Cushing Biggs Hassell, History of the Church of God, pp. 252, 253 (1876)

“So great a hold did the conviction that the Papacy was the Antichrist gain upon the minds of men (who held the historicist view), that Rome at last saw she must bestir herself, and try, by putting forth other systems of interpretation, to counteract the identification of the Papacy with the Antichrist.

“Accordingly, toward the close of the century of the Reformation, two of the most learned (Jesuit) doctors set themselves to the task, each endeavoring by different means to accomplish the same end, namely, that of diverting men’s minds from perceiving the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Antichrist in the papal system. The Jesuit Alcazar devoted himself to bring into prominence the preterist method of interpretation,…and thus endeavored to show that the prophecies of Antichrist were fulfilled before the popes ever ruled in Rome, and therefore could not apply to the Papacy.

“On the other hand, the Jesuit Ribera tried to set aside the application of these prophecies to the papal power by bringing out the futurist system, which asserts that these prophecies refer properly, not to the career of the Papacy, but to some future supernatural individual, who is yet to appear, and continue in power for three and a half years. Thus, as Alford says, the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580, may be regarded as the founder of the futurist system of modern times.

“…It is a matter for deep regret that those who advocate the futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist.” Rev. Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 16, 17.

“Not only did the Reformers proclaim the mighty truth of justification by faith for the liberation of men’s souls, but they nerved thousands to break from the tyranny of the dark ages of the papacy by clearly identifying the antichrist of Bible prophecy. The symbols of Daniel, Paul and John were applied with tremendous effect. The realization that the incriminating finger of prophecy rested squarely on Rome aroused the consciousness of Europe. In alarm Rome saw that she must successfully counteract this identification of antichrist with the papacy or lose the battle. She must present plausible arguments which would cause men to look outside the medieval period for the development of antichrist.

Jesuit scholarship rallied to the Roman cause by providing two plausible alternatives to the historical interpretation of the Protestants.

1. Luis de Alcazar (1554-1630) of Seville, Spain, devised what became known as the ‘preterist’ system of prophetic interpretation. This theory proposed that the Revelation deals with events in the Pagan Roman Empire, that antichrist refers to Nero and that the prophecies were therefore fulfilled long before the time of the medieval church. Alcazar’s preterist system has never made any impact on the conservative, or evangelical wing of the Protestant movement, although in the last one hundred years it has become popular among Protestant rationalists and liberals.

2. A far more successful attack was taken by Francisco Ribera (1537 – 1591) of Salamanca, Spain. He was the founder of the ‘futurist‘ system of prophetic interpretation. Instead of placing antichrist way in the past as did Alcazar, Ribera argues that antichrist would appear way in the future. About 1590 Ribera published a five hundred page commentary on the Apocalypse, denying the Protestant application of antichrist to the church of Rome.” M.L. Moser, Jr., An Apologetic of Premillenialism, pp.26, 27.

“Through the Jesuits Ribera and Bellarmine, Rome put forth her futurist interpretation of prophecy. Ribera was a Jesuit priest of Salamanca. In 1585, he published a commentary on the Apocalypse, denying the application of the prophecies concerning antichrist to the existing Church of Rome.” H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation From the Standpoint of Prophecy, p. 268 (1887)

“The futuristic School, founded by the Jesuit Ribera in 1591, looks for Antichrist, Babylon, and a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, at the end of the Christian Dispensation. The Praeterist School, founded by the Jesuit Alcazar in 1614, explains the Revelation by the fall of Jerusalem, or the fall of pagan Rome in 410 AD..” M.L. Moser, Jr., An Apologetic of Premillenialism, p.27 (Quoting G.S. Hitchcock, a Roman Catholic Author).

“We have traced in the last three lectures the antiquity, the practical use, and the systematic development of the historical interpretation of prophecy–the interpretation which regards Papal Rome as the Babylon of the Apocalypse, and the Roman pontiff as “the man of sin.” We have shown that the historical interpretation was the earliest adopted in the Christian Church; that it developed with the course of history; that it sustained the Church through the long central ages of apostasy; that it gave birth to the Reformation… It stood for ages, and is destined to remain till the light of eternity shall break upon the scene. The historic interpretation is no dream of ignorant enthusiasts. It has grown with the growth of generations; it has been built up by the labours of men of many nations and ages. It has been embodied in solemn confessions of the Protestant Church. It forms a leading element in the testimony of martyrs and reformers. Like the prophets of old, these holy men bore a double testimony–a testimony for the truth of God, and a testimony against the apostasy of His professing people…and this was their testimony and nothing less, that Papal Rome is the Babylon of prophecy, drunken with the saints and martyrs; and that its head, the Roman pontiff, is the predicted “man of sin,” or antichrist. To reject this testimony of God’s providential witnesses on a matter of such fundamental import, and to prefer to it the counter-doctrine advocated by the apostate, persecuting Church of Rome, is the error and guilt of modern Futurism.” H. Grattan Guinness,Romanism and the Reformation From the Standpoint of Prophecy, pp. 297, 298.

Futurism is literalism, and literalism in the interpretation of symbols is a denial of their symbolic character. It is an abuse and degradation of the prophetic word, and a destruction of its influence. It substitutes the imaginary for the real, the grotesque and monsterous for the sober and reasonable. It quenches the precious light which has guided the saints for ages, and kindles a wild, delusive marshfire in its place. It obscures the wisdom of Divine prophecy; it denies the true character of the days in which we live; and while it asserts the nearness of the advent of Christ in the power and glory of His kingdom, it at the same time destroys the only substantial foundation for the assertion, which is prophetic chronology, and the stage now reached in the fulfillment of the predictions of the apostasy.” H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation From the Standpoint of Prophecy, pp. 298, 299. (1887)

“But mark, this is a question of Rome’s judgment concerning herself, and the bearing of prophecy on her own history and character. It is here in this judgment that the Futurist claims that Rome was right, and the Reformers in the wrong. And the consequences are most serious, for we are living in an age of revived Papal activity.” H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation From the standpoint of Prophecy, p. 256.

“To resist the use to which Scripture prophecy was put by the reformers is no light or unimportant matter. The system of prophetic interpretation known as Futurism does resist this use. It condemns the interpretation of the reformers. It condemns the views of all these men, and of all the martyrs, and of all the confessors and faithful witnesses of Christ for long centuries. It condemns the Albigenses, the Waldenses, the Wycliffites, the Hussites, the Lollards, the Lutherans, the Calvinists; it condemns them all, and upon a point upon which they are all agreed, an interpretation of Scripture which they embodied in their solemn confessions and sealed with their blood. It condemns the spring of their action, the foundation of the structure they erected. How daring is this act, and how destitute of justification! What an opposition to the pillars of a work most manifestly Divine! For it is no less than this, for Futurism asserts that Luther and all the reformers were wrong in this fundamental point. And whose interpretation of prophecy does it justify and approve? That of the Romanists. Let this be clearly seen. Rome felt the force of these prophecies, and sought to evade it. It had no way but to deny their applicability. It could not deny their existence in Scripture. They were there plainly enough. But it denied that these prophecies referred to the Romish Church and its head. It pushed them aside. It shifted them from the entire field of mediaeval and modern history.” H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation from the Standpoint of Prophecy, pp. 251, 252.

Rev. Joseph Tanner, (1898, an English Protestant):

“Accordingly, towards the close of the century of the Reformation, two of her [Rome’s] most learned doctors set themselves to the task, each endeavoring by different means to accomplish the same end, namely, that of diverting men’s minds from perceiving the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Antichrist in the papal system. The Jesuit Alcazar devoted himself to bring into prominence the Preterist method of interpretation, which we have already briefly noticed, and thus endeavored to show that the prophecies of Antichrist were fulfilled before the popes ever ruled at Rome, and therefore could not apply to the Papacy. On the other hand the Jesuit Ribera tried to set aside the application of these prophecies refer properly not to the career of the Papacy, but to that of some future supernatural individual, who is yet to appear, and to continue in power for three and a half years. Thus, as Alford says, the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580, may be regarded as the Founder of the Futurist system in modern times.” M.L. Moser, Jr., An Apologetic of Premillenialism, p.27

Futurism Comes to the United States

Edward Irving:

“Edward Irving (1792 – 1834), born in Scotland and a brilliant Presbyterian preacher, became a noted expositor in the British Advent Awakening. At first a historicist in his approach to the prophecies, Irving came to adopt futuristic views.” M.L Moser, Jr., An Apologetic of Premillenialism, p. 28.

Unfortunately Irving’s divergence from the truth did not end here. Along with his change of position on prophetic interpretation he also incorporated several other fanaticisms into his new theology.

“…He despaired of the church being able to complete her gospel commission by the ordinary means of evangelism and began to believe and preach about the miraculous return of the gifts and power of the early church.

“In 1831 the ‘gift of tongues’ and other ‘prophetic utterances’ made their appearance among his followers, first in Scotland among some women and then in London. Irving never detected the imposture and gave credence to these new revelations. Under the influence of these revelations of ‘the Holy Ghost’ ‘by other tongues,’ a new aspect was added to the expectation of future antichrist -the rapture of the church before the advent of Christ. The novel origin of this novel theory has embarrassed some of its advocates, and in the face of certain lack of evidence heretofore, the defenders of this novel theory have tried to deny its historical beginning. But the recent discovery in a rare book of Rev. Robert Norton entitled the Restoration of Apostles and Prophets In the Catholic Apostolic Church, published in 1861, establishes the origin of this innovative doctrine beyond all question. Norton was a participant in the Irvingite movement. The idea of a two-stage coming of Christ first came to a Scottish lass, Miss Margaret MacDonald of Port Glasgow, Scotland, while she was in a ‘prophetic’ trance.” M.L. Moser, Jr., An Apologetic of Premillennialism, p.28.(Research was done at Central Baptist College, Conway, AR)

Actually, the trance that Miss MacDonald was under occurred while she was deliriously ill. As pointed out in Arnold Dillimore’s book, Forerunner of the Charismatic Movement, Miss MacDonald was a semi-invalid who was prone to be taken away with her feelings, impressions and revelations.

It was through the fervor of a local preacher, McLeod Campbell, the hysterical impressions and feelings of Miss MacDonald, and the desire above all reason of Edward Irving for a return of the gifts that the grass-roots of the Charismatic movement began in Scotland. It soon spread like wildfire, and through the close association of John Nelson Darby, Irving’s movement came to the United States.

John Nelson Darby:

“Secondly, Darby and almost all the Plymouth Brethren advocated a futurist rather than historicist interpretation of the book of Revelation…. The historicist party, represented by almost all those millenarians discussed earlier in this chapter, judged that much of Daniel was recapitulated in the book of Revelation and the two accounts could be used to interpret each other. They believed that the events described in the Apocalypse were being fulfilled in European history…. The futurists believed that none of the events predicted in Revelation (following the first three introductory chapters) had yet occurred and that they would not occur until the end of this dispensation. Associated with this rejection of the historicists’ harmonizing of Daniel and Revelation was the futurists’ attack upon the year-day theory, so vital to the dating of the 1,260 years to 1798. At the first Powerscourt conference the announced topic for Wednesday was ‘proof if 1260 days’ means days or years.

The futurist position did not originate with the Plymouth Brethren. Sixteenth-century Roman Catholic commentators had countered Protestant attacks upon the papacy as the Antichrist by insisting that none of the events relating to Antichrist had yet occurred….As has been true so frequently in the history of religious controversy, futurism did not become a real threat to the historists and an attractive alternative prophetic position until accepted by believers. This occurred when Darby, Newton, and the Plymouth Brethren adopted futurism.

“…Darby introduced into discussion at Powerscourt the ideas of a secret Rapture of the church and of a parenthesis in prophetic fulfillment between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week of Daniel (chapter 9). These two concepts constituted the basic tenets of the system of theology since referred as dispensationalism…. Neither Darby nor Newton seems to have become estranged at this time. Darby held an open mind on both of these subjects as late as 1843. (Benjamin Wills) Newton remembered, years later, opposing both positions. Commenting upon Darby’s interpretation of the seventy weeks of Daniel, Newton remarked, ‘The secret rapture was bad enough, but this (futurism) was worse.’”Ernest R. Standeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, British and American Millenarianism 1800-1930, pp. 36, 37, 38 (University of Chicago Press – Chicago & London).

Conclusion

The movement for futurism, the secret rapture and the gift of tongues all developed in the 1830’s in the Scottish church, pastored by Edward Irving, by a woman named Miss Margaret McDonald. She gave what was believed, at the time, to be an inspired utterance. She spoke of the visible, open and glorious second coming of Christ. But as the utterance continued, she spoke of another coming of Christ — a secret and special coming in which those that were truly ready would be raptured. It was John Nelson Darby, a Brethren preacher and a diligent writer of the time in England — who was largely responsible for introducing this new teaching on a large scale. In the 1850’s and 1860’s, this theory was introduced into the United States, in a large degree when Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, a strong believer in Darby’s teachings, incorporated it into the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible which was published in 1909.

It didn’t happen all at once, but through time the Papacy’s maneuver to avoid detection as the antichrist power has taken hold of the majority of professed Christians today. Stealthfully she has laid her trap and the world has walked right into it. “Never was there a time in the Church’s history when she more needed the barriers which prophecy has erected for her protection. And now when they are so sorely needed, they are not to be found. Futurism has crept into the Protestant Church, and broken down these sacred walls… H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation From the Standpoint of Prophecy, p. 257 (1887)

Footnotes

  1. John Nelson Darby and the Rapture by Thomas Ice (PDF)
  2. For Zion’s Sake, Darby and Christian Zionism by Paul Wilkinson (PDF)

About John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.
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15 Responses to Preterist, Futurist or Historical view of Bible prophecy

  1. Sean Clement says:

    Obviously, the ‘Rapture’ is garbage…But the ‘Endtime’ narrative/Chronology is not, I don’t believe…

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  2. Steve Smith says:

    I don’t believe we are “deceived” for believing God’s prophecies are still yet future and will be fulfilled in a plain, straightforward, non-allegorical way. Yes, the Bible uses allegory in Prophecy at times, and phenomenological language, as to how things will look to an observer on earth. The Bible in many cases interprets for us the allegory, so we shouldn’t contradict it. Days should mean days, unless said otherwise. Anytime something isn’t interpreted for us, we should work within the book, the chapter and context in question, and note the author’s style. John for example differentiates kings versus kingdoms, unlike Daniel that equates them at times. If we can’t find an answer then go to other books within Scripture. Most things can be found within Scripture, with secular history as extra-confirmation, if it has indeed come to pass already.

    You are throwing out the baby, rapture, with the bathwater, false timings like pre-tribulation.

    The Reformation was a good thing but clearly they had a presupposition that the catholic church just had to be the antichrist and everything evil under the sun. They were not consistent with their exegetical approach like they were with the rest of the Bible, as in Genesis.

    With that being said the early Church before Catholics and Protestants believed the antichrist was necessary before the Day of the Lord, and that he would be the false Jewish messiah who would resurrect. Peter was never in Rome but referred to Jerusalem as Babylon. It doesn’t surprise many mistook Nero, because the sixth antichrist king alive during John’s time was most likely Domitian. But the Seventh and Eight King, resurrection, is still the future antichrist who comes from the abyss (prison for spirits), yet another reference to resurrection.

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    • I used the word “deceived” in the context of being “deceived” by the Jesuits with the promotion of the futurist view, which by the way I held for a very long time myself. I was “deceived” myself and I am willing to admit it. But Bible prophecy is not so cut and dry and after studying the alternate methods of interpretation I find I am not alone in holding to the historical view, though I admit we are few in number.

      In regards to your statement that Peter referred to Jerusalem as Babylon. I only assume that you refer to the verse 1 Peter 5:13:

      The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you;…

      It is not agreed by Bible scholars what he means by Babylon, but based on the non-prophetical context we should take it at face value, meaning the small city (by that time) Babylon in Chaldea. Peter may have made an apostolic visit to the Church that established itself in the ancient city of Babylon, and he wrote this epistle from there. It is a big assertion to claim that he refers here to Jerusalem. I would note that some Catholics have claimed he was in Rome at the time and they claim Babylon = Rome. There is some irony there because of Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots seems to strongly refer to the Church of Rome.

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      • Steve Smith says:

        Jerusalem, Judah, is also referred to as worse than Israel,and a whore, in the old testament. If you search on google, mystery babylon by Chris White, he goes through verse by verse revelation 18, and how all the characteristics are already found in Scripture as referring to Jerusalem.

        I used to believe Rome, Vatican, was like you said, the Whore, the false prophet/antiChrist etc. I’ve changed my mind once I realized how allegory can lead to a lot of errors, if it isn’t backed up by Scripture alone. One can make a great case that Mecca for example fits a lot of the prophecies. And I don’t mean you aren’t trying to follow proper rules of interpretation. It happens easily in the area of prophecy where we try and fit something outside Scripture as fulfilling. After all it does actually have to come to pass in history at some point in time.

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      • I understand what you are saying, but other than 1 Peter 5:13 (which does not state Jerusalem = Babylon) there are no verses that have Peter calling Jerusalem Babylon. I have studied/listened to Chris White on mystery Babylon = Jerusalem and I disagree with his interpretation. After much study and reading the interpretations of such great men as Sir Isaac Newton I found a different interpretation of Revelations 18. So we’ll have to disagree on this one.

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  3. Steve Smith says:

    Yes, I’ve read that article of yours today. One thing I notice is that you mention days as being ambiguous for long periods of time, day = years. These days are critical to the exact day: 1,260, 42 months, time times and half a time, 1,290, and 1,335. They are there for a reason. They have to do with the 70th Week, the midpoint onward, which matters most. Like for example the bowls can be pinpointed to only occur during the 30 day period, specifically with 25 days remaining. And the two witnesses, two literal people (Elijah, Enoch imo.) have to die on exactly day 1,261, and they have to die between the sixth and seventh trumpet, due to the 3 woes. Armageddon, better translated as, har moed, mount of assembly, mt. Zion, Jerusalem, finishes exactly on day 1,290, where the temple/Jerusalem are destroyed by the great earthquake of the seventh bowl; and right after that, right below mt.Zion to the west/south west is Gehenna, which in the New Testament is where the lake of fire was symbolically used. That is where the antichrist meets his end as he is thrown into the lake of fire alive. Interestingly Jesus, as the angel of the Lord, killed 185,000 Assyrians in that location during the era of Sennacherib, a type of antichrist.

    But I’ve tried my best to make you reconsider, and don’t worry I won’t bother you much anymore about Prophecy related things.

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    • Steve, I once believed (for 30 years plus) just what you write. But more careful (on my part) examination of the prophesies in the books of Daniel and Revelation, convinced me otherwise. It was a big change for me. One of the key expositors for me was Sir Isaac Newton. Some of his explanations of key verses in Daniel really got me thinking about it quite differently. Then when I looked into the history in the 1st century AD, persecutions, Roman-Jewish wars, temple built by the Romans, much of Matthew 24 became a lot clearer as did Daniel and Revelation. Hence the change. I also looked at the genetics of the futurist view (not saying that that is sufficient to reject it) and found that the Jesuits were developers and promoters of it. But let me say this; we will both know when Christ returns. It will be clear.

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      • Steve Smith says:

        I haven’t studied as much Newton, but I will get around to it. He was a smart man of course, but he wasn’t perfect in all areas, like alchemy, unless that is some faulty rumor spread by atheists lol, I haven’t checked.

        One reason why I’m so adamant about the 70th Week is because the entire chapter of Daniel 9 deals with Jerusalem and Jerusalem only. The universe revolves around that city and Zion, the new Eden. The Jews are not in perfect relations with God/Jesus until that week is finished. Blessed who reaches the 1,335th day, the start of the millennial.

        The other reason is that Daniel 11 clearly starts off with nothing but Persians & Greeks, with Israel in the middle, and leads up to Antiochus IV, and then clearly fades into what can only be the antiChrist, due to similar circumstances of the abomination. Once faded it then focuses on the antiChrist’s future wars against Arab nations that surround Israel except Jordan (the Leopard in Daniel 7), and the attributes can only describe a Jewish man not gentile. The Daniel 12 restrainer is Michael, whom Paul refers to. It clearly shows the antiChrist dying in Jerusalem, and then Michael standing up, to heaven at the midpoint in Revelation to fight Satan, and at that time is when the antiChrist resurrects to abominate the temple, and then the great tribulation begins.There are so many verses about the resurrection of the antiChrist, I just can’t ignore it. The resurrection of the righteous (the whole world will notice), Daniel 12, takes place when the great tribulation is cut short, which is part of the second coming. Jesus the first fruits of the barely harvest had some resurrection companions according to Matthew, but it was only a type. The harvest of the wheat that began at Pentecost ends in the last generation.

        So yes the final seven years I believe can be refuted to have already occurred. There is just too much attached to these seven years, when amazing prophecies get fulfilled. I just can’t see that as already having occurred in the past 2,000 years.

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      • Steve, I agree, Newton was not perfect, of course not. I only say that he got me thinking about this from a different perspective. Please the studies I have listed under “Bible studies” and drawn in part from his writings. Daniel 7, Daniel 9, Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation in particular. I believe the final seven years cannot be refuted to have occurred already. As long as they is an explanation fitting the prophecies, which there is, it cannot be refuted.

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  4. Steve Smith says:

    I will read up on his stuff and the Jesuit stuff. Although there are early Christian writings well before the Jesuits that talk about a future Jewish antichrist, so they weren’t convinced it all finished back in 70 a.d. or with the Jewish revolts against the Romans.

    I’ll get around to reading those articles; I may comment a little on what I agree/disagree.

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  5. Sean Clement says:

    Fascinating & well-informed comments guys. I do – for the purposes of full discussion – refer you to Joel Richardson’s recent book: ‘Mideast Beast.’ Another fascinating possible interpretation not yet discussed above…

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    • Steve Smith says:

      I disagree with an Islamic antichrist. Joel gives too much credence that Islamic eschatology will come to pass, and we just need to swap the names for Mahdi = antichrist, and Isa (Jesus) = false prophet.

      I do believe their eschatology will play into the hands of the antichrist, such as when muslims see someone starting a temple in Israel and sacrifices, the Mosaic covenant strengthened, then it is time for all out war against Israel; I believe this is what plays out in Daniel 11.

      I also disagree with his Gog & Magog being the same as armageddon. It is only a foreshadow at best, because Revelation 20 makes it clear it happens after the millennium. Ezekiel 38 & 39, an Israel already dwelling in security without walls and a focus on the mountains of Israel, are all post armageddon, millennium, and topographical changes from the seventh bowl, where the whole world will be flat and only the mountains of Israel will exist.

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  6. Sean Clement says:

    Stephen, would you just remind me please about how do we know that there is ever going to be any Third Temple (before Y’Shuah comes back). (I know about the ‘abomination of desolation’ but that’s beside the point IMO).
    FYI (if you haven’t heard this argument: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZwFmc1Yk1M )

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    • Steve Smith says:

      I’m not sure we should keep replying; it’s getting long.

      You have to understand that Islamic eschatology is copied from Christians and Jews, even their pseudepigrapha and apocrypha writings. Arab writers knew what Christians and Jews believed for several centuries, so all they had to do was add, remove, and twist things to make Islam look good.That is standard practice in Islam. None of what they say will come to pass at all. They are simply pawns for the antichrist when they come and attack him as Scripture makes clear.

      Revelation 13 has several verses, including the image and mark of the beast, that speaks of his resurrection. The false prophet is the false Elijah. Jews, that reject Jesus, demand the Messiah to be preceded by Elijah. The real Elijah that proceeds the real Messiah will be one of the two witnesses that will counteract the false Elijah. I agree that the image of the beast will be “possessed” by Satan, and he will speak through it to receive worship in the Temple, and possibly have the power to put people to death that refuse. The antichrist most likely can’t sit at the Temple all day like the real Messiah, so he has a statue of himself there.

      The abomination of desolation is no small matter according to Jesus, Paul, and Daniel. At the midpoint when the antichrist resurrects, he goes into the temple and sits in the temple of God, claiming to be God. Since he claims to be God, he will stop sacrifices and demand worship of himself, killing all who oppose.

      See this is what I mean about allegory. You can read anything into the text from outside Scripture, and it seems to fit. But all these symbols and allegory can be found within Scripture, and the context matches. Scripture interprets Scripture, comparing Scripture with Scripture, hermeneutics should apply for all areas of the Bible: creation, theology, and eschatology.

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      • This is the end of comments along this line. You are just stating all the standard futurist view of prophecy which I have long studied but now reject as incorrect. To address all those ideas is look at all the different prophecies in detail, which I have done in my Bible studies section.

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