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Historicism, Futurism,
Ribera and the
Counter Reformation


1.  What is Historicism?

The Historicism is the historical interpretation of many of the prophecies in the book of Revelation, particularly regarding Antichrist.  The Anti-Christ, Man of Sin, or Mystery of Iniquity is the system of  Papacy. The Reformers had the historical interpretation of the Antichrist.  Historicism has no "gap" between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel 9.  The Prince being cut off in the midst of the week is Christ, the Messiah, who died in the midst of the 70th week of favor to natural Israel at the first advent.  Historicism treats Revelation as a Book of signs and symbols.

2.  What is Futurism?

The Futurist view of Revelation interprets the prophecies of Antichrist as a future literal man who deceives the world.  The Futurist view interprets Revelation literally, not symbolically.  There is a "gap" of over 2400 years between the 69th week and 70th week of Daniel 9.  The Prince is the Man of Sin, Antichrist.  The Futurist view was introduced by the Jesuits to counter the Reformation view of Papacy.

3.  Who was Ribera and what was the Counter Reformation?

The Reformation was empowered by three fundamental truths:

1.  The Bible is God's Word and has precedence over church traditions or laws;
2.  Salvation comes through Christ alone;
3.  Papacy is the Antichrist.

The Reformers unanimously and courageously accepted these truths as sacred and were led by conscience to take their stand against Papal Rome.   The Reformation split western empire of Christendom in half, wounding Papacy nigh unto death (Revelation 13:3). 

However, the Reformation was soon followed by a Catholic Counter Reformation.  The fivefold responses of the Papal Counter Reformation included:

1.  The formal recognition of the order of Jesuits
2.  The actions and decrees of the Council of Trent
3.  The Catholic counter systems of prophetic interpretation
4.  The establishment of the Index
5.  The widespread revival of persecution

Protestant Reformation doctrines on Antichrist were held by hundreds of thousands of people, as well as kings and rulers.  Under these Protestant doctrines, whole nations rebelled against allegiance to the pope. Papacy endeavored to divert the Protestant accusations by a twofold interpretation.

1.  In 1614 through Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit priest of Seville, Papacy advanced the Praeterist interpretation which viewed the Antichrist prophecies as being fulfilled at the first advent with the Fall of Jerusalem or by the fall of Pagan Rome in 410 A.D. 

2.  Through two Jesuit priests, Francisco Ribera (1537-1591), of Salamanca Spain, and Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), of Rome, Papacy put forth her Futurist interpretation.  Antichrist prophecies were to be fulfilled in a seven year period in the distant future.  The Futurist "gap" theory has been widely accepted by Fundamentalist churches today, who have made popular the "Left Behind" series.

Francisco Ribera published his 500-page commentary on Revelation around 1590.  He assigned the first three chapters of Revelation to ancient Rome.   The rest of Revelation he restricted to a literal 3-1/2 year reign of an infidel Antichrist man who would oppose and blaspheme the saints just before the second advent.   Ribera taught that Antichrist would be a literal man who would rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, abolish the Christian religion, deny Christ, be received by the Jews, pretend to be God, and conquer the world.  [LeRoy Edwin Froom, THE PROPHETIC FAITH OF OUR FATHERS, Vol. II, pp. 484-505, The Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 1948]

The "Left Behind" series by Fundamentalist Christians has accepted the Jesuit Futurist View that the "Antichrist" is a literal man, and not the Protestant Reformation view that the system of Papacy is the the Antichrist.


Click to go to the following:

00GoldSquare.jpg (705 bytes)     For information from STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES on Daniel 9.

00GoldSquare.jpg (705 bytes)     For booklet on "Can We Identify Antichrist?"

  A3AntichristBklt.jpg (2450 bytes)  A3BkletChUnion.jpg (2768 bytes)

00GoldSquare.jpg (705 bytes)     For booklet on "Church Union and the Antichrist."  

00GoldSquare.jpg (705 bytes)     For Information on Who Will Be "Left Behind"?

00GoldSquare.jpg (705 bytes)     Question #3 on The Seven Years' Tribulation.

00GoldSquare.jpg (705 bytes)       For a chart on Reformers' Interpretations of Anti-Christ.

00GoldSquare.jpg (705 bytes)     For more information on Anti-christ and the Man of Sin.

00GoldSquare.jpg (705 bytes)       Back to Question #6 on Who Is AntiChrist?

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