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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation Church History hermeneutics The Papacy

Martin Lloyd-Jones on the book of Revelation

Some years ago I abandoned my former belief in the Futurist eschatology that most of the evangelical churches believe today. That was what is called the pre-millennial return of Christ and where the 70th ‘week’ of Daniel is pushed off into the distant future. I believed that as I was first taught that as a babe in Christ. But 35 + years later I really started to doubt it, and by about 2013 I discarded it entirely. Instead I studied the Historical interpretation, which seemed to be much better.

I began to accept the Historical: Continuing interpretation, but have to admit that it has its drawbacks. It needs a detailed knowledge of history for one thing, which the average believer does not have. Some of the key time line seems to not match, especially after Napoleon. (This interpretation is what the SDA church promotes).

I never believed in the alleged secret Rapture (also called the pre-Tribulation Rapture), but even the pre-millennial return of Christ has multiple returns of Christ before the Great White Throne Judgement (of Revelation chapter 20).

Anyway the Futurist doctrine was developed in the 17th century by a Jesuit, Ribera and later another Jesuit, Bellamine. It is obvious that this was an attempt to get the protestant churches eyes off the papacy, since the Reformers believed the papacy was the AntiChrist. After 1830 the teaching was added to by John N Darby, who promoted it into the evangelical churches. Nowadays it is widely believed.

Recently I have been listening to sermons by Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones on the books of Daniel and Revelation. As a result, I have now learned that even the Preterist interpretation–that all prophecy was fulfilled by the close of the 4th century–was also developed by a Jesuit in 1603. You gotta admire the Jesuits’ efforts to overturn the Reformation. I have also learned that there are 3 forms of the Historical interpretation.

  1. Historical: Precis (which the Reformers largely believed) – a summary (not detailed) of events from St John’s time to the present. Hence it does not include all events in detail.
  2. Historical: Continuing — a detailed description of historical events that have happened from Christ to the New Heaven and Earth. This requires almost a continuous timeline from Revelation chap 4 through to chap 22. But many times the descriptions hearken back to what appear to be earlier events. Chapter 12 starts with Christ’s first Advent again.
  3. Historical: Spiritual — there are spiritual principles behind the battles and events encountered by Christians through all ages from Christ until the final Judgement, but not that each description in the book of Revelation applies to only one event. Similarly to the 7 churches described in Chapters 2 and 3 applying to many different churches through the ages, also the descriptions in the prophecies could apply to many different agents, battles and events. The spiritual forces, like Satan are clearly identified, which act through many earthly agents.

Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones explains these in the following lectures and gives criticism as he sees it. He promotes Historical: Spiritual as the best interpretation.

In this blog you’ll find many Bible studies that follow the Historical: Continuing interpretation. I still believe a lot of it may be correct but many events could be explained by the same symbolic descriptions in the book of the Revelation. This much better the supports the notion that God gave the final revelations to the Apostle John for the benefit of all believers throughout all ages.

I strongly recommend you take the time to listen to what he teaches. See below.

Categories
Bible prophecy Church History Roman Catholic Church

Futurism: Jesuit deception of the church

The following is copied, without alteration,  from The Evil Empire of Jesuit Futurism, which was itself taken from Chapter 3 of  book “The Left Behind Deception” by Steve Wohlberg. Bold brown text indicate my added emphases.

Imagine a pair of supernatural, high-tech, Heaven-inspired eyeglasses that can give a Christian the instant ability to see one of Lucifer’s greatest end-time deceptions. Such X-ray eyeglasses do exist. The purpose of this chapter is help you find them and put them on, and then you will be able to understand the almost unimaginable Evil Empire of Jesuit Futurism.

Modern Christianity has largely forgotten the importance of the Protestant Reformation, which took place during the 1500s. “The sixteenth century presents the spectacle of a stormy sunrise after a dismal night. Europe awoke from long sleep of superstition. The dead arose. The witnesses to truth who had been silenced and slain stood up once more and renewed their testimony. The martyred confessors reappeared in the Reformers. There was a cleansing of the spiritual sanctuary. Civil and religious liberty were inaugurated. The discovery of printing and revival of learning accelerated the movement. There was progress everywhere. Columbus struck across the ocean and opened a new hemisphere to view. Rome was shaken on her seven hills, and lost one-half of her dominions. Protestant nations were created. The modern world was called into existence” (H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation, p. 122).

For almost a thousand years, Europe had been ruled by the iron hand of Rome. Only a few Bibles existed then, and Christianity was largely permeated with superstition. Faith in Jesus Christ, heart-felt appreciation for His love, and a simple trust in His death on the cross, were almost unknown. The New Testament truth about grace, full forgiveness, and the free gift of eternal life to believers in the Son of God (Romans 6:23), had been buried under a mass of tradition. Then Martin Luther arose like a lion in Germany. After a period of tremendous personal struggle, Martin Luther began teaching justification by faith in Jesus Christ (being declared “just” by God), rather than through reliance on “creature merits,” or any human works (Romans 1:16; 3:26, 28; 5:1).

Eventually, Martin Luther turned to the prophecies. By candlelight, he read about the “little horn,” the “man of sin,” and “the beast,” and he was shocked as the Holy Spirit spoke to his heart. Finally, he saw the truth and said to himself, “Why, these prophecies apply to the Roman Catholic Church!” As he wrestled with this new insight, the voice of God echoed loudly in his soul, saying, “Preach the word!” (2 Timothy 4:2). And so, at the risk of losing his life, Martin Luther preached publicly and in print to an astonished people that Papal Rome was indeed the Antichrist of Bible prophecy. Because of this dual message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ apart from works and of Papal Rome being the Antichrist, the river of history literally changed its course. Hundreds of thousands of people in Europe and in England left the Catholic Church.

“‘There are two great truths that stand out in the preaching that brought about the Protestant Reformation,’ American Bible Commentator, Ralph Woodrow, reminds us, ‘The just shall live by faith, not by the works of Romanism and the Papacy is the Antichrist of Scripture.’ It was a message for Christ and against Antichrist. The entire Reformation rests upon this twofold testimony'” (Michael de Semlyen, All Roads Lead to Rome, Dorchester House Publications, Dorchester House, England, 1991, pp. 202, 203). It has been said that the Reformation first discovered Jesus Christ, and then, in the blazing light of Christ, it discovered the Antichrist. This mighty, Spirit-filled movement, for Christ and against the Antichrist, shook the world.