In regard to the prophecies concerning the "Antichrist" (Daniel 7; 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 17-18) it is generally recognized that there are three schools of prophetical interpretation:
The following chart shows the history of these last two schools of thought. It will quickly be noticed how the Futurist school was a reaction to the early Protestant view that the Catholic church was the Antichrist.
- PAST (Preterist School) - In this view, prophecies in Daniel and Revelation are regarded as largely fulfilled in the events of 70 A.D. when the Roman armies of Vespasian and Titus destroyed the nation of Israel. The Roman Catholic Apostasy is not the subject of prophecy in this interpretation, since it did not exist in 70 A.D. Rather, a Jewish application is often given to these passages.
- FUTURE (Futurist School) - This is the most popular position in Christendom. The Antichrist and Man of Sin prophecies are considered to relate to a future (and usually unknown) personage. There is a widespread consensus among Protestant and Roman Catholic writers that the Jesuit, Ribera, founded this school of thought. Futurism has a similarity with the Preterist or Past school of interpretation, insofar as the Roman Church is not the fulfillment of these prophecies.
- CONTINUOUS (Historical School) - This was once a popular Protestant view at the time of the Reformation, but with the growth of ecumenicalism, it is seldom taught today. In this view of prophecy, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 17, 18 relate to historical development of the apostasy from the first century to its culmination in Romanism.
The Histories of Two Prophetical Interpretations Concerning the Identity of the Antichrist
Antichrist = a line of Roman Catholic apostates
Antichrist = a future unknown personage yet to arise
In the "Noble Lessons" (1120) declared the Antichrist to be the Papacy
The harlot city reigning over the kings of the earth undoubtedly meant Rome - "Commentary on the Apocalypse"
The Papacy is the Antichrist of Scripture
Roman Catholic expositor
Jesuit, founds Futurist school
Opposes Jesuit Ribera's futurism
Jesuit, published book (4 vols.) "Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty" using Ben Ezra, a converted Jew as a false author. Had a great influence on Protestants.
|Protestants Begin to Accept Futurism|
Protestant librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury who began tractarian movement publicizing futurism.
Scottish Presbyterian minister discovers false authorship of Lacunza's work and translates it from Spanish to English.
Reads Irving's translation of Lacunza's work, founds Plymouth Brethren and introduces futurism to America.
||Dr. James Todd|
Gives credit for his views to Maitland.
||John Henry Newman|
Leaves Church of England and becomes a cardinal in Roman Church. Influenced by Todd and Maitland. Publishes book "The Protestant Idea of Antichrist" and gives his weight to tractarian movement directed to Protestants.
"Eureka" - Christadelphian exposition on Revelation.
|Dr. Grattan Guinness
"The Approaching End of the Age"2
"Antichrist and his Ten Kingdoms"
"Watchman! What of the Night?"
Prophecy magazine of Seventh Day Adventists
Old Fashioned Prophecy Magazine
||Back to the Bible|
"Notes on the New Testament"
"The Midnight Cry" magazine
"The Late Great Planet Earth"
- "But mine anger and indignation brast out against the Jesuite . . . [Ribera] . . . They [Papists] dare proclaim to the world that any other thing rather is pointed at in it than their Pope of Rome? . . . Ribera, the Jesuite being privy to his bad cause . . . like an old crafty lapwing, keeps a pitiful noise, in any place rather, than where the nest is, so that he might call men away from the nest, I know not wither. But understand [O Ribera] that the seven hills [of Rev. 17] belong to Rome, and that these seven kings belong to the same . . . ", The Revelation of St. John, pp. 4, 187. Return
- " . . . the Jesuit, Ribera, who, moved like Alcazar, to relieve the Papacy from the terrible stigma cast upon it by the Protestant interpretation, tried to do so by referring these prophecies to the distant future . . . ", p. 95. Return