And that knowing the TIME...



METHODS OF INTERPRETATION There are three methods of Interpretation: PRETERISM - Most of Revelation already fulfilled in the past (PRE - terism). FUTURISM - Most of Revelation still to be fulfilled in the future (FUTURE- ism). HISTORICISM - Revelation seen as de- scribing the history of the church through- out the Christian era. (HISTORIC - ism).

Preterism and Futurism teach that most of Revelationʼs prophecies and time periods have no direct relevance to the Church throughout most of the Christian era. Preterism & Futurism require a change in the unchangeable God (Mal 3:6). God who in the Old Testament prophesied the most significant events that would affect His people THROUGHOUT their history.

Preterism and Futurism present Revelation as silent regarding events of immense significance to Godʼs church such as the rise and progress of the Papacy, the Reformation, etc. Can we believe that these things were not of sufficient significance in Godʼs eyes to describe in prophecy?

It is no surprise that Preterism & Futurism were invented by Roman Catholic Jesuit scholars to hide the Papacy from detection. Their views were part of the counter-Reformation and though rejected in their day by virtually all Protestants their views have been accepted today:

“The Futuristic School, founded by the Jesuit Ribera in 1591, looks for Antichrist, Babylon, and a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, at the end of the Christian Dispensation.” G.S. Hitchcock, (Roman Catholic), The Beast and the Little Horn, p7.

“Ribera thrust the Antichrist into the future, confined to 3 1/2 literal years; Alcazar pushed Antichrist back into the early centuries - Both of them outside the Middle Ages and the Reformation period, designated by all Protestants for Antichristʼs reign of 1260 literal years.” L. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol II, p508.

“It is a matter of deep regret that those who hold and advocate the Futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are thus really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist. It has been well said that ʻFuturism tends to obliterate the brand put by the Holy Spirit upon Popery.ʼ More especially is this to be deplored at a time when the Papal Antichrist seems to be making an expiring effort to regain his former hold on menʼs minds.” Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, p17.

Historicism 1. Historicism interprets Revelationʼs prophecies as useful to the Church, to which Revelation was written. Revelation is seen to have relevance to the Church THROUGHOUT the whole Christian Era. 2. Historicism has Revelation consistent with Godʼs way in the past, i.e. outlining the most significant events His people would experience THROUGHOUT their history. 3. Historically fulfilled prophecies increase faith in Godʼs Word and actually reveal what is yet to come. Ecc 1:9 “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Revelation supports Historicism: Rev 1:1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must SHORTLY come to pass.” By prophesying events THROUGHOUT Christian history some part of the Revelation has ALWAYS been “SHORTLY to come to pass.” God describes Himself as present throughout history. Rev 1:4 “... from him who IS and who WAS and who is TO COME ...” Rev 1:8 “who IS and who WAS and who is TO COME, the Almighty.” Rev 1:19 “Write the things which you HAVE SEEN and the things which ARE and the things which WILL TAKE PLACE after this.” The prophecies of Revelation cover the PAST, the PRESENT, and the FUTURE. This is the Historicist position.

ARGUMENTS ANSWERED (1) Do the many conflicting interpretations offered by historicists invalidate the method? Answer - Futurists and Preterists are equally chaotic. Misuse of a method does not invalidate a method.

(2) Doesnʼt the Historicist method makes much of Revelation of no relevance to us today? Answer - Preterism makes Revelation of no relevance to most Christians throughout history! Futurism makes Revelation of no relevance to most Christians throughout history! Historicism makes Revelation relevant to Christians in ALL ages and most especially to end-time because the fulfilled prophecies prefigures events that are occurring today. (Ecc 1:9).

(3) Does the Historicist interpretation requires too much extra-Biblical knowl- edge? Answer - All prophecy is eventually fulfilled and then becomes an historical fact. As prophecy is history written before it happens a knowledge of history is essential. Bible Prophecy generally concerns very significant historical events, the fulfillment

of which is readily discovered in commonly available history books.

(5) There is no evidence in Revelation that the author anticipated long ages of history. Answer - The Author of Revelation was Jesus, not John, and Jesus certainly knew that long ages would pass. The time periods in the Revelation are symbolic of longer ages. See on Time Periods below.


THE ORIGIN OF FUTURISM Futurism was invented to deflect the application of prophecy to the Roman Papacy. The Catholic Encyclopedia admits:

The Catholic Encyclopedia states: “To the ʻreformersʼ particularly the Apocalypse was an inexhaustable quarry where to dig for invectives that they might hurl them against the Roman hierarchy. The seven hills of Rome, the scarlet robes of the cardinals, and the unfortunate abuses of the papal court court made the application easy and tempting.” C. van den Biesen, “Apocalypse” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p598.

“...the counter Reformation did not merely condemn the Reformation in general; it attacked the prophetic positions on which ALL PROTESTANTS WERE AGREED... Rome had felt the cumulative force of these prophecies. She must somehow offset them. There was no way but to deny their applicability to the Papacy, as their general existence in the Scripture could not be denied. The Catholic citadel must be defended on prophetic grounds. The persistent Protestant application to the Papacy of Antichrist, under the various symbols, must be countered and turned if the Protestant prophetic fortress was to be overwhelmed. The incriminating finger of prophecy - pointed by Daniel, Paul, and John - must be diverted. The symbols must be pushed out of the entire field of medieval and contemporary history.

Romeʼs answer to the Protestant Reformation was twofold. though actually conflicting and contradictory. Through the Jesuits Ribera, of Salamanca, Spain, and Bellarmine, of Rome, the Papacy put forth her Futurist interpretation. These were designed to meet and overwhelm the Historical interpretation of the Protestants. Though mutually exclusive, either Jesuit alternative suited the great objective equally well, as both thrust aside the application of the prophecies from the existing Church of Rome. The one accomplished it by making prophecy stop altogether short of papal Romeʼs career. The other achieved it by making it overleap the immense era of papal dominance crowding Antichrist into a small fragment of time in the still distant future, just before the great consummation. It is consequently often called the GAP THEORY.” L.E. Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 2, p486-487.

“Accordingly, toward the close of the century of the Reformation, two of her most learned doctors set themselves the task, each endeavouring by different means to accomplish the same end, namely, that of diverting menʼs minds from perceiving the prophecies of Antichrist in the Papal system. The Jesuit Alcasar devoted himself to bring into prominence the PRETERIST method of interpretation, which we have already briefly noticed, and thus endeavoured to show that the prophecies of Anti-christ were fulfilled before the Popes ever ruled at Rome, and therefore could not apply to the Papacy. On the other hand the Jesuit Ribera tried to set aside the application of these prophecies to the Papal power by bringing out the FUTURIST system, which asserts that these prophecies refer properly not to the career of the Papacy, but to some future supernatural individual, who is yet to appear, and to continue in power for three and a half years. Thus, as Alford says, the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580, may be regarded as the Founder of the Futurist system in modern times.” Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 16, 17.

Roman Catholics and Protestants agree as to the origin of these interpretations. “The Futuristic School, founded by the Jesuit Ribera in 1591, looks for Antichrist, Babylon, and a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, at the end of the Christian Dispensation... The Praeterist School, founded by the jesuit Alcasar in 1614, explains the Revelation by the Fall of Jerusalem, or by the fall of Pagan Rome in 410A.D.” G.S. Hitchcock, (Roman Catholic), The Beast and the Little Horn, p7.

“Ribera thrust the Antichrist into the future, confined to 3 1/2 literal years; Alcazar pushed Antichrist back into the early centuries - Both of them outside the Middle Ages and the Reformation period, designated by all Protestants for Antichristʼs reign of 1260 literal years.” L. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol II, p508.

“It is a matter of deep regret that those who hold and advocate the Futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are thus really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist. It has been well said that ʻFuturism tends to obliterate the brand put by the Holy Spirit upon Popery.ʼ More especially is this to be deplored at a time when the Papal Antichrist seems to be making an expiring effort to regain his former hold on menʼs minds.” Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, p17.

“The FUTURIST view is that which teaches that the prophetic visions of Revelation from chapters iv. to xix., prefigure events still wholly future, and not to take place till just at the close of this dispensation. It supposes ʻan instant plunge of the Apocalyptic prophecy into the distant future of the consummation.ʼ This view gives the literal Israel a large place in the Apocalypse, and expects a solitary infidel Antichrist, who shall bitterly oppress the saints for three and a half years, near the date for the Second Advent, thus interpreting time as well as much else in the Apocalypse, literally. In its present form it may be said to have originated at the end of the sixteenth century with 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, instead of, like Alcazar, to the distant past. It is held under a great variety of modifications, no two writers agreeing as to what the symbols do prefigure...The Futurist view denies progressive revelation.” Dr H. Grattan Guinness, Approaching End of the Age, p95 et seq.

“The founder of this system in modern times...appears to be the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580.” Henry Alford, The New Testament for English Readers, Vol. 2, part 2, p351 (bottom numbering).

“Indeed Francis of Ribera the Jesuit, thrust his whole prophecy almost into these straits, wisely indeed to save his Popeʼs head, but as touching the truth, exceedingly perversely.” Thomas Brightman, (Puritan scholar), A Revelation of the Apocalypse, chap. 1, p8.

“Although Ribera launched the Futurist system of interpretation, it was popularized...by the astute Cardinal Bellarmine [1542-1621]...Bellarmineʼs assault on the Protestant interpretations of prophecy was centered upon the year-day principle, which since Joachim, had risen to general notice and wide acceptance among both Catholics and Protestants.” L.E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. II, p493-496

Riberaʼs and Bellarmineʼs beliefs, though rejected in their day by Protestants, have become the generally accepted beliefs of Fundamentalist Protestantism today! No longer do Roman Catholics have to counter the Protestant interpretation of prophecy because most Protestants have ceased protesting and have accepted the Roman Catholic interpretation!

The following FUTURIST errors are now common among so-called Protestant churches: 1. Apply most of Revelation to the future esp. chapters 4-22. 2. Interpret the prophetic periods literally. e.g. 1260 LITERAL DAYS. 3. Make Danielʼs Little Horn a single future individual. 4. Assert that Rome has not yet divided into the 10 kings/kingdoms. 5. Expect literal Babylon to be rebuilt. 6. Insert a gap of over 1900 years between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel 9. 7. Apply the 70th week of Daniel 9 to anti-christ and place it in the future. 8. Generally take things in Revelation as literal rather than symbolic.


TIME PERIODS IN THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL AND THE REVELATION Many modern teachers unknowingly or knowingly follow the Roman Catholic Jesuits Ribera and Bellarmine in claiming that the time periods in Daniel and Revelation are to be taken literally and apply to the future. However many scholars, Jewish and Christian, from before Christ to the modern day, have understood the time periods to be symbolic of longer periods of time, most of which have been fulfilled in the past. Several clues show which prophetic periods are symbolic of longer periods of literal time:

(1) Symbolic CONTEXT Most time prophecies in Daniel and the Revelation are given in symbolic contexts. This suggests that the associated time periods are also symbolic.

(2) Symbolic time UNITS “EVENING MORNINGS” [Hebrew ereb boqer] of Dan 8:14 (margin) and 8:26 are an unusual way of expressing days. The usual Hebrew word for “days” is yowm. 3 1/2 “TIMES” (Dan 7) are an unusual way of expressing years. The “WEEKS” in the 70 weeks are an unusual unit to use in expressing a period of this length. The use of such unusual time units is intended to indicate that these periods are not literal time but symbolic time.

(3) Symbolic time PERIODS 70 weeks, 1260 days, 1290 days, 1335 days, 2300 days are unusual ways of expressing periods of this length. A Hebrew would normally say 6 years and four months, not 2300 days. Literal time is expressed as a number of years, months and days. e.g. in Elijahʼs day, “heaven was shut up three years and six months.” (Luke 4:25). “...it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” (James 5:17). “David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months..” (2Sam 2:11). Jehoachin “...reigned three months and ten days.“ (2Chron 36:9). The use of unusual time quantities (70 weeks, 1260 days, 3 1/2 “times”, 1290 days, 1335 days, 2300 days) in prophecy indicates that these periods are not usual time periods but symbolic time periods.

(4) Small periods in big contexts Daniel & Revelation concern BIG subjects, such as the rise, reign and fall of historyʼs great kingdoms, and yet relatively SMALL periods (3 1/2 days, 10 days, 1260 days, 1290 days, 1335 days, 2300 days). Other prophecies, such as Israelʼs captivities in Egypt & Babylon, concern SMALLER subjects (the experiences of Israel) but appear to have BIGGER periods (400 years, 70 years). The solution to this paradox is that the small periods of Daniel & Revelation are actually symbolic of much larger periods of time.

(5) The appropriateness of scale Only if taken symbolically can the prophetic periods accommodate the subjects under discussion. e.g. the 2300 days of Daniel 8 span Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome and reach to the “time of the end” (v 17). Only if taken symbolically can 2300 “days” accomodate the period of these kingdoms. The “one day” in Rev 18:8 in which a “famine” will occur is evidently symbolic of a period long enough to have a famine.

(6) The 70 weeks The first 69 of the 70 “weeks” of Dan 9:25 reached from the commandment to restore Jerusalem, which went forth over 450 years before Christ, to Christ. The 69 “weeks” or 483 days, therefore symbolize a period of over 483 years. Note: The period was “70 shabua (“weeks)” not “sevens” or “sevens of years,” as found in some translations. Shabua always means a period of seven days - a week. Christ declared, “The time is fulfilled,” doubtless referring to the 69 weeks which were to reach to the appearing of the Mes- siah. Thus Christ Himself verified that the days of the 69 “weeks” symbolized years. Preterists and Futurists are both compelled to acknowledge the day-for-a-year rule in the 70 week prophecy.


Having discovered the clues which show which periods are symbolic, what are they symbolic of?

Hebrew poetry parallels days with years “[Are] thy days as the days of man? [are] thy years as manʼs days.” Job 10:5 “I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.” Job 32:7 “I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.” Psalms 77:5.

The Sabbatical year (Exo 23:10-11) The week of 7 days provided the pattern for the ʻweekʼ of 7 years in which the land rested, uncultivated, every 7th year.

The Day = Year Principle Num 14:34 “ ...each day for a year...” Eze 4:6 “I have appointed thee each day for a year.”

CONCLUSION Symbolic days represent literal years.

APPLICATION One must first determine if a period is literal or symbolic. Those that are symbolic can be identified as such by the principles previously outlined. Each symbolic period must then be converted to symbolic days, and each symbolic day represents a literal year. e.g. 70 weeks = 490 days = 490 years. e.g. 3 1/2 times = 1260 days = 1260 years. e.g. 2300 days = 2300 days = 2300 years. When understood this way the prophetic periods perfectly fit historical events.

Pragmatic test When days are taken as symbols for years in symbolic periods these periods meet accurate fulfillments. e.g. 69 ʻweeksʼ were to reach from the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem to the Messiah. When the first 69 ʻweeksʼ (483 days) are taken to symbolize 483 years they reach from the command- ment to the appearance of Messiah. This pragmatic test confirms the day = year principle.

Could the prophetic periods have another application as literal days? To reapply the symbolic periods in the future as literal days would require one to deny all the evidences which shows that the periods are symbolic, not literal.

Historic use of the year-day principle In the third century B.C. the translators of the Septuagint, the Greek Bible, inserted the phrase “weeks of years” in the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9. “Nahawendi, in the early ninth century, was evidently the first to interpret the 1290 and 2300 days as years. Then Saadia, Jeroham, Hakohen, Jepphet idn Ali, and Rashi of the tenth century applied it not only to the 70 weeks but also to one or more of the 1290, 1335, and 2300 - day periods. And Hanasi and Eliezer, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and Nahmanides in the thirteenth, similary extended it to the longer time periods of Daniel.” L.E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, R&H 1950, Vol. I, p713.

In the centuries following, the day-year principle came to be widely accepted and was the method accepted by most of the Protestant Reformers.