“Historicism’s Antichrist” Feedback

In regard to my post on Historicism Ian Myerscough commented:

Hi Tim,

I’m writing cos I normally just smile at your contributions on Fivedoves – but your teenage style dismissal of Historicism is more breathtaking than usual. The foremost writer of the last 2 centuries on historicism was Dr Grattan Guiness, the Maths and Astronomy chair of Dublin University, and the outstanding Bible teacher and preacher of evangelical Christianity of his day in Ireland. He also started one of today’s largest Missionary societies out of his own tireless evangelistic efforts. He wrote literally dozens of now standard scholarly texts on Church History etc. Try reading some of his works like ‘Light for the Last days’ before you rush into cyberspace again with a few trivial paragraphs. NB You’ll need a few weeks for each book – he’s not a 21st century soundbite peddlar!

Hi Ian, thanks for introducing yourself as another smiling reader of mine =). Seriously, I agree there is much more I could have written in my last post to debunk Historicism, but time did not permit it. But really, it ought to be enough to point out it breaks the plain reading of scripture. If we could all read the Bible properly and learn to not entertain theories that break the consensus of the face value meaning of plain scripture, there would be no one subscribing to Historicism, or many, many other things taught by the myriad contradictory flavors of Christianity.

As for your appeal to the authority of Dr. Guinness, this is a falacious argument given the high amount of expert contradiction in the area of eschatology. To whit:

If there is a significant amount of legitimate dispute among the experts within a subject, then it will be fallacious to make an Appeal to Authority using the disputing experts. This is because for almost any claim being made and “supported” by one expert there will be a counterclaim that is made and “supported” by another expert. In such cases an Appeal to Authority would tend to be futile. In such cases, the dispute has to be settled by consideration of the actual issues under dispute. Since either side in such a dispute can invoke experts, the dispute cannot be rationally settled by Appeals to Authority.”

The chief consideration of the actual issues in this case I would submit is whether a theory breaks plain scripture, something that Jesus emphasized in his theological debate with the pharisees (John 10:35).

I will also point out that Bible prophecy was sealed until the End Times so that people like Dr Guinness or Sir Isaac Newton, as great as they may have been, just like the great Daniel, were at a supreme disadvantage in understanding End Times Bible Prophecy because they were not of the proper generation when these things would be unsealed and “righteous” “wise men” would understand them (Daniel 12:9-10).

Finally, I cover the Biblical definition of the wisdom needed to understand prophecy in my book Planet X in Bible Prophecy, but I will state that it’s clear that neither Guinness or Newton fulfill that requirement, as well. If this assessment is true, then it would be scripturally impossible for them to properly understand Bible Prophecy, disqualifying them as experts all the more.

Historicism’s Antichrist

Has the Prophecy of the Beast / Antichrist Already Been Fulfilled in the Papacy?

Historicists believe that the Great Tribulation is 1260 years long and that there is no gap in the 70 weeks of Daniel. Believing the 70th week has already been fulfilled years ago, the Antichrist then must also be history. Who was he? Since the papacy arose out of the 10 horned kingdom of the Roman Empire, they conclude that the papacy is the Antichrist.

Is this right? Once again, this site tries to raise awareness that prophecy is not to be read any differently than the rest of the Bible. We are not allowed to break scripture, i.e. come up with an interpretation that breaks the plain face value meaning of it. Does Historicism pass this test? We will see that to believe any of these things you have to give very strained interpretations of many plain passages.

Is the Beast a Man or an "Institution"?

It says the Beast of Revelation 13 is a man who later in Revelation 19 is cast into the Lake of Fire with the other beast of Revelation 13, the False Prophet. Historicism changes this from a literal man to a symbol representing a manmade institution, the papacy. This unauthorized allegorization of the plain text breaks scripture and must be rejected, even if throwing the papacy into the lake of fire where it is “tormented” with smoke rising as a result made sense (Rev 20:10).

Tribulation 1260 Years?

Another problem is in believing that the Great Tribulation is 1260 years long instead of 3½. I have already written on how to determine the length of the Great Tribulation, step by step.

Other passages are simply unfulfilled and unexplainable by Historicism, such as

What Happened To the Heavenly Signs of Jesus’ Return?

Matthew 24:29 tells us that, immediately after the Great Tribulation, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give her light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. If the Great Tribulation has already happened, as the Historicist viewpoint contends, when did all these things come to pass? Obviously, they haven’t. Verse 30-31 continues right on to tell us:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

This passage clearly states that, immediately after the tribulation, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from heaven. It continues on to say that, right after that, Jesus will come in the clouds, the people of the earth will see Him, and he will send his angels with a sound of a great trumpet to gather His elect.

Are we to believe that Jesus has already come back? Has He in some mysterious way secretly gathered His elect? Of course not! The conclusion is simply unavoidable. The Historicist view that all these things have already happened is simply not true.


As you can see, if you consistently apply the principle of not allowing any interpretation to break plain scripture, then you will be able to discern erroneous interpretations for yourself. Historicism requires a heavy dose of broken scripture and should be rejected for that reason.