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.