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HISTORICISM / CONTINUOUS-HISTORIC CONTEXT
For discussion of this subject please join us in the forum by clicking here.

The studies covered in this website regard FULFILLED prophecy within the traditional continuous historic context, that is also referred to as historicism, as opposed to futurist, preterist or idealist views, which comprise the four approaches to Christian eschatology. However the term "historicism" or "historicist" is commonly associated with a distinct doctrine that utilizes the traditional continuous historic context, with a focus on the Roman Catholic Church as the principle subject of the book of Revelation in a manner inconsistent with the term antichrist.

The continuous-historic context (or as Skolfield suggests "linear-historic" as being more descriptive), can be described simply as the understanding that bible prophecy is fulfilled steadily, as the era about which it is written gradually unfolds. This traditional view is held by Christians and Jews for Old Testament prophecy who recognize, for example, Daniel's "beasts" to be kingdoms that came and went in succession over hundreds of years in Daniel's future.

This continuous historic view was also held by the reformers and much of the church throughout the Christian era in regard to New Testament prophecy.  This is reinforced - indeed required - by an understanding of the "language" of prophecy of "each day for a year" that was well recognized by so many that we discover when we look to the former age and search their fathers:   
Job 8:8  For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:  9  (For we [are but of] yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth [are] a shadow:)

The most stunning observation in regard to the two most popular eschatologies in the 20th-21st century church - futurism and partial-preterism - is that these doctrines necessarily preclude consideration that Muhammad could be THE false prophet mentioned in the book of Revelation! This in spite of Mohammed's 1400 year record of success, with another 1/4 of mankind following Mohammed as I write. It shouldn't come as a surprise then, that those who follow these two eschatologies must each consider the other to be virtually 100% wrong in regard to their understanding of the book of Revelation (after chapter 3) because a 1900 year gulf divides the two views.
It is important for everyone to get familiar with The History of Mecca.

While many Christians don't hesitate for a moment to use this day = year language of prophecy for at least 69 of Daniel's 70 weeks, they then don't hesitate to discard this language in regard to other days, weeks, and months problems assigned to us by prophecy, when this language doesn't suit their doctrine.  The application of sound principles of hermeneutics require a consistent approach rather than picking and choosing that which suits our pre-conceived notions, while discarding verses that appear to contradict them.

A few examples of those that understood this "language" of prophecy were:

Quoting from "The False Prophet": "In 1569, the great Anabaptist theologian, Thieleman van Braght, wrote the following in Martyrs Mirror, pages 21-24: 'a thousand two hundred and threescore days, which reckoned according to prophetic language means as many years let it be reckoned as it may, say we, as a very long period of time.'  

Two hundred years later, Matthew Henry, in his 'Commentary of the Whole Bible', came to the same conclusion (Vol VI, page 1157 column 1, para. 2):  '….if the beginning of that interval could be ascertained, this number of prophetic days, taking a day for a year, would give us a prospect of when the end might be.'"

Also Jamison, Faucett & Brown commentary - "..... in the wilderness 'a thousand two hundred and threescore days.' In the wider sense, we may either adopt the year-day theory of 1260 years..."

Other examples of those who understood this language include:

Augustine (AD 430)
Nahawendi (Jewish) (AD 8-9th century)
Jehoram (AD 10th century)
Abraham bar Hiyya (Jewish) (AD 1136)
Arnold of Villanova AD (1292)
Tichonius (AD 380)
Joachim of Floris (AD 1202)
John Wycliffe (AD c.1379)
Nicholas of Cusa (AD c.1452)
Martin Luther (AD 1522)
Phillip Melanchthon (AD 1543)
Johan Funck (AD 1558)
James I of England (AD 1600)
Sir Isaac Newton (AD 1727)

It is important to note that the studies in this website discuss FULFILLED prophecy.

"The folly of interpreters has been to foretell times and things by this prophecy [Revelation], as if God designed to make them prophets. By this rashness they have not only exposed themselves, but brought the prophecy also into contempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He gave this and the prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify men's curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and his own providence, not the interpreters', be then manifested thereby to the world. For the event of things predicted many ages before will then be a convincing argument that the world is governed by Providence." - Sir Isaac Newton

We should consider the warning that Jesus gave to the Pharisees, and never allow our doctrine to trump the truth of God's Holy Word:
Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

With a couple of thousand denominations all being confident that each has it right, doesn't it behoove us to continuously seek out the truth of God's Holy Word, and if our doctrine has difficulty in the light of scripture, to reconsider it?  What much of the uninformed in the church BODY today would presume to be traditional eschatological doctrine, has in fact only been in the church for about one to five hundred years.  It is a good idea for all of us to get to know the roots of the doctrine we hold.  While most churches are on the same page regarding our core doctrines, and issues of salvation, the number of interpretations of the figurative language of visions and dreams in prophecy are legion. Virtually all established in the absence of sound hermeneutic principles.
 
(link to this spot)

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4  And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The 19th century brought us

Mary Baker Eddy - Christian Science (recovery)
Joseph Smith - LDS Mormon (recovery)
Charles Taze Russell - Jehovah's Witness (recovery)
William Miller - Millerites predecessor of SDA
Ellen White - SDA Seventh Day Adventists (recovery)
Edward Irving - Irvingites
United and Oneness Pentecostal Church - several individuals 19th & 20th century (recovery)
    (Please read "Demons in the Church" by Ellis H. Skolfield available free at this link)
John Nelson Darby - dispensationalism futurism - Darby from Irving via C.I. Scofield - (Dr. Harry Ironside on futurism)
Dr. John Thomas - Christadelphians (recovery)
Georg W. F. Hegel - Idealism school of eschatology (adopted by Karl Marx) (pdf)
Madame Blavatsky - Theosophical Society - satanist acquaintence of Westcott and Hort
Westcott and Hort - wrote corrupt 19th century minority Greek text that is the basis of the majority of modern bible versions.
Pope Pius IX - 1854 dogma of the "immaculate conception" (former) (Ex) (scandals)

Certainly not limited to the 19th century.

Constantine - 3rd-4th century - Roman church - 44 Roman church doctrines and their dating - For those in the bondage of the Roman church it is essential that husbands and fathers understand the 13th century dogma of auricular confession. (former) (Ex) (scandals)

Ribera - 16th century - futurist doctrine creator and seed for Darby's doctrine
Alcazar - 17th century - preterist doctrine - preterism
Jean de Labadie - 17th century - millennial reign
Manuel de Lacunza - 18th century - middle man between Ribera and Darby

Some suggest that the Roman Church held a preterist view historically, but if that were the case how was it that Catholic Jesuits invented the doctrine of futurism, and then preterism, just a few decades later?

Here's a summary of Alcazar - Ribera - de Lacunza - Darby.

Cults

2Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him].
To discuss any of the above pop-doctrines, please join us in our forum:
http://brotherpete.com/index.php#1

Roman church

by a former nun, Mary Ann Collins.

To defend Roman Catholicism why not join us in the forum: http://brotherpete.com/index.php?board=7.0

In Revelation 2:4 we read of the church of Ephesus: Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  5  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

What might be meant by the term "first love"? Some say they lost their commission to evangelize, and perhaps they are right.  But if it is about our first commandment to love our Lord God, how can we best accomplish that?
John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So Jesus IS truth.  Could it be that in spite of all it's good works, that the church of Ephesis lost it's way in regard to the truth of God's Holy Word?  That it allowed it's doctrine to trump the truth of God's Holy Word, just like the Pharisees?

Internet searches are one way to become more familiar with the sources of our doctrine.  But we have to be willing to open our eyes and face the truth, rather than bury our heads in the sands of unsound doctrine.  Whether Jesuit Luis Alcazar's preterism or Jesuit Ribera's/John Darby's futurism.  These are the two main eschatologies in the protestant church today.  To review some of the fruit of orthodoxy read Fox's Book of the Martyrs or Martyr's Mirror, or search - law suit million catholic.  Here's a paper on the subject of pop doctrines.  
 
(link to this spot)
The primary root of problems in the church ever since John wrote of nicolaitianism would seem to be a failure to recognize that authority lies in Jesus Christ, not in men that other men have declared to be in a position of authority, or men that have declared themselves to be such.  It would seem that the broader this error of authority, the more difficulty the church encounters.  From the serious problems of Roman Catholicism, to the dead formalism of mainstream protestant denominations, to the 19th century John Darby penned eschatology of the so-called non-denominational denominations.  It would also seem that the more a church declares in regard to doctrine through it's "statement of faith" or it's "we believe...", the greater the difficulty they have presented themselves with in regard to rethinking and correcting error.  The ecclesia of the first century that largely met in houses, did not have the pulpit-pew relationship, from Greek sophism, introduced into the church by Constantine, that we find later in the buildings that eventually came to be referred to as churches.  Excellent reads in regard to this discussion of authority is "Pagan Christianity" and "Rethinking the Wineskin" by 100 year old Frank Viola.

Consider the example of Martin Luther.  As a Catholic priest with access to a bible he came to understand the error of misunderstood authority in the church.  As a result he took his ministry to the streets.  But by the end of his life he became exalted by his followers, as the authoritative head of his church, thereby perhaps assuming the very position of authority he may have earlier realized as error.
In modern times we have the example of those like Pastor Churck Smith of Calvary Chapel, one of the most vibrant and spirit filled churches of our times.  He was indoctrinated as pastor of a mainstream denomination, who wound up walking out of the building and taking his ministry to the beaches of California and witnessing to hippies.  The Costa Mesa congregation has an appropriately broad Statement of Faith. But some 40 or so years later, Chuck Smith finds himself the head of a huge ministry, some branch churches of which declare as dogma, an eschatological doctrine that was penned in the mid-19th century through the personal interpretation of an individual named John Nelson Darby.

Internet searches regarding doctrine may be a little upsetting at first, but shouldn't we be doing everything in our power to seek out the truth?  Where does the "man of sin" "sitteth"?  Before we inquire of church leaders we should recognize that by and large they are the product of seminaries that teach doctrine, and how to teach that doctrine to others.  Their eyes are likely the most scaled over that you will find in your church, which is perhaps a direct result of their assuming a position of "authority" that belongs to Jesus Christ.  The second and third chapters of Revelation describe a boatload of doctrinal heresy that had already come into the church just 70 years after the Cross.  All of the "overcommeth"ing of those chapters would seem to be about overcoming unsound doctrine, not Satan. Except, of course, as Satan is the author of all unsound doctrine. Is it reasonable to presume that things improved over the ensuing 1900 years? Jesus Christ is the head of the church.

Should we expect our church leaders to have the answers? Should they have even put themselves in a position to suggest that they do?
1 Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over [God's] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
How do inflexible, traditional doctrines, inhibit the intensive search, that should be inspired by the following verses?  
Daniel 12:4  But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.  
God followed this up with a crystal clear statement of fact:  
Daniel 12:9  And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.   

How did Isaac Newton and Matthew Henry weigh in on the above verses?

Regarding pop-doctrines like futurism, preterism or Marianism (which became dogma only after WWII) the bible warns:
2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 
(link)

"Dr. Harry Ironside of Moody Bible Institute, himself an ardent supporter of the Ribera-Lacunza-Macdonald-Darby-Scofield eschatological scheme, admitted in his Mysteries of God, p.50: ". . . until brought to the fore through the writings of . . . Mr. J. N. Darby, the doctrine taught by Dr. Scofield [i.e., the Seven-Year Tribulation theory] is scarcely to be found in a single book throughout a period of 1600 years. If any doubt this statement, let them search, as the writer has in measure done, the remarks of the so-called Fathers, both pre- and post-Nicene, the theological treatises of the scholastic divines . . . the literature of the reformation . . . the Puritans. He will find the 'mystery' conspicuous by its absence."

Job 8:8  For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:  9  (For we [are but of] yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth [are] a shadow:)



Notes

From an article on the eucharist:

"One final quote, taken from "Foxe's Book of Martyrs" recounts how Mrs. Prest of Cornwall was accused of denying transubstantiation. Her final words to the Catholic bishop prior to being burned at the stake are very illuminating.

[Can you] deny your creed which says that Christ doth perpetually sit at the right hand of His Father, both body and soul, until He comes again; or whether He be there in heaven our Advocate, and to make prayer for us unto God His Father? If He be so, He is not here on earth in a piece of bread. If He be not here, and if He do not dwell in temples made with hands, but in heaven, what! Shall we seek Him here? If He did not offer His body once for all, why make you a new offering? If with one offering He made all perfect, why do you with a false offering make all imperfect? If He be to be worshipped in spirit and in truth, why do you worship a piece of bread? If He be eaten and drunken in faith and truth, if His flesh is not profitable to be among us, why do you say you make His flesh and blood, and say it is profitable for body and soul? Alas! I am a poor woman, but rather than to do as you do, I would live no longer. [16]"
(link)
 
From Walid Shoebat:

"You might be shocked to know that the highest caliber commentators of old did not believe that Europe was the exclusive player in the End-Times. A revival of a Roman Empire never meant a revival of a European Empire.

Many of our best western scholars on Bible prophecy believed that Islam would be a major player and will revive in the end of days as part of this end-time beast.  John Wesley interpreted the Iron in Daniel 2 as Islam (Works, 1841).  Hilaire Belloc foresaw Islam‘s rise.2  Gregory Palamus of Thessalonica interpreted the martyrdom of Christians during the Great Tribulation to come from Islam.  Josiah Litch interpreted Revelation as the ushering in of Islam...3 He even described the magnitude of Islam’s role being Antichrist to the extent of calling it the “general agreement among Christians, especially protestant commentators.” Cyril of Jerusalem (315-368 A.D) in his Divine Institutes believed that Antichrist proceeds forth from the region of ancient Syria 4, which today extends from Syria well into portions of Asia Minor (Turkey).  Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (560-638) and Maximus the Confessor (580-662) identified Islam with Antichrist and lived through Islam’s invasion of Jerusalem.  Maximus was also an important theologian and scholar of the early Church who helped defeat the Monothelite heresy referred to the Muslim invasions as “announcing the advent of the Antichrist.” John of Damascus (676-749) was another very important figure in the early church.  In his famous book, Against Heresies, he identified Islam as the forerunner to the Antichrist.  Eulogius, Paul Alvarus and the Martyrs of Cordova (9th century) believed Muhammad to be a false prophet and the precursor to the Antichrist. 5 Many are not aware that while Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, believed that the Papacy played the role of the spiritual harlot, he also believed that the Muslims were the Kingdom of Antichrist. 6

John Calvin interpreted Daniel 2 eastern leg as the Eastern-Roman Islamic Empire and that Daniel 11:37 applied to the Muslims. 7 Even Jonathan Edwards the great American congregational preacher, revivalist, and president of Princeton University, like Luther and Calvin, saw Islam as one of the premiere elements of the Antichrist Kingdom. 8 Calvin even interpreted Islam’s fall at the sound of the great trumpet 9 Islam falling at the sound of the great trumpet even carries Islam into the Great Tribulation and not as many of our contemporary prophecy analysts who allege that Islam must be removed prior to Christ coming.

Even Sir Robert Anderson, perhaps one of the best prophecy experts who unlocked the seventy weeks of Daniel, in his remarkable book The Coming Prince, insists to focus on the Levant (Eastern) parts rather than the Adriatic (West). 10

Countless other Bible commentators warned about Islam being the kingdom of Antichrist—Selnecker, Nigrinus, Chytraeus, Bullinger, Foxe, Napier, Pareus, John Cotton, Thomas Parker, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather, and George Stanley Faber. 11

Also added to the list is Rev. Professor Dr. Francis Nigel Lee who sums up the traditional view in his excellent work Islam in the Bible: “from the seventh century onward – [the two legs] would degenerate respectively into the Papacy (which progressively took over the West) and Islam (which progressively took over the East.” (p. 5)

Making Europe the exclusive body of Antichrist kingdom is not the orthodox or even the traditional view. Some insist that Antichrist is Italian since he comes from the Roman Empire, but Roman does not strictly mean Italian, just as Alexander the Great was Grecian, this does not mean Athenian—he was from Macedonia. Antiochus Epiphanies, another biblical prediction was Syrian not Athenian or Cypriot. Why then, when it comes to Antichrist, insist on an Italian ignoring the whole empire. Even Jesus insisted that Pergamum in Revelation 2:12-13, was the seat of Satan and not the gymnastically altered interpretation for an archeological relic that sits in Berlin.

While contemporary prophesy analysts trumpet the idea that the fourth composite of Daniel 2 iron metal as strictly European, traditionalist views differ.  Dr. Matthew Henry comments: "Who is this enemy—whose rise, reign and ruin are here foretold?  Interpreters are not in agreement.  Some will have the Fourth Kingdom to be that of the Seleucidae and the ‘little horn’ to be Antiochus...... Others will have the Fourth Kingdom to be that of the Romans, and the ‘little horn’ to be Julius Caesar and the succeeding emperors, as Calvin says.  The Antichrist, the Papal Kingdom, says Mr. Joseph Mede.

Others make the ‘little horn’ to be the Turkish Empire [Muslim]; so Luther, Vatablus, and others. Now I cannot prove either side to be in the wrong.  Therefore, since prophecies sometimes have many fulfillments, we ought to give Scripture its full latitude (in this as in many other controversies)—I am willing to allow that they are both in the right.” 12"

REFERENCES

2 The Great Heresies, chapter 4 March, 1936, page 127-128
3 Hosiah Litch, The Three Woe Trumpets, Fall of The Ottoman Empire, August 11, 1840
4 Divine Institutes, 7:17
5 Paul Alvarus, Memoriale sanctorum 2.4
6 Martin Luther, Tischreden, Weimer ed., 1, No. 330
7 Calvin On Islam Revelation Prof. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, Lamp Trimmers El Paso, 2000
8 Jonathan Edwards, The Fall of Antichrist, Part VII, page 395, New York, Published by S. Converse 1829
9 Jonathan Edwards, The Fall of Antichrist, Part VII, page 399, New York, Published by S. Converse 1829
10 The Coming Prince, Page 273
11 Froom: op. cit., II pp. 323f, 325f, 331, 340f, 412f, 458 & 518f and also III pp. 40f, 74f, 125-31, 149, 183, 240f, &352f.
12 M. Henry: A Commentary on the Holy Bible, with Practical Remarks andObservations, London: Marshall Bros. Ltd., n.d., IV:1270f.   


Additional resources:

"Demons in the Church" by Ellis H. Skolfield available free at this link

Skolfield papers:
Mark of the Beast
The Millennial Reign
Unforgivable Sin
Few Ears to Hear
A Little History
An End Time Myth
Antichrist Myth
Notes on Antichrist
What is I AM?
Daniel's Second Times Prophecy

Ministry partner papers:
A Knife Edge

See also:
New Age Bible Versions

"God is truth, so how well a person serves the Lord is not dependent on how artfully he can defend his doctrines, but on his willingness to seek out and follow the truth." - Ellis Skolfield.