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
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.,
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.