The End of the Age and the Strong Delusion
There is a very dangerous doctrine that has become wildly popular today. You have no doubt been exposed to it at one time or another. Perhaps you have even bought into it, I did myself at one time.
It was placed in the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible, and various Bible commentaries. It was popularized by best-selling books such as The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey and the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye. It is loudly trumpeted by numerous televangelists such as Jack Van Impe, and John Hagee.
I am talking about a false view of end time prophecy, or eschatology. A counter-reformation doctrine called futurism which was developed by the Jesuit Francisco Ribera (1590). What makes it so dangerous, is that it was designed to obscure the identity and timing of the anti-Christ, bringing grave consequences to the victims of this corrupt power.
Most grassroots dispensationalists haven't the slightest clue of futurism's counter-reformation pedigree, errors, or how it made its way into supposedly Protestant seminaries.These highly respected scholars below (and many more), have no problem identifying the source.
O. T. Allis D.D. - Theology Professor Princeton:
The Futurist interpretation is traced back to the Jesuit Ribera (AD 1580) whose aim was to disprove the claim of the Reformers that the Pope was Antichrist. Prophecy and the Church, page 297
Dr. George Eldon Ladd - Professor Fuller Theological Seminary:
Ribera applied all of Revelation but the earliest chapters to the end time rather than to the history of the Church. Antichrist would be a single evil person who would be received by the Jews and would rebuild Jerusalem, abolish Christianity, deny Christ, persecute the Church and rule the world for three and a half years. ...This futurist interpretation with its personal Antichrist and three and a half year period of tribulation did not take root in the Protestant church until the early nineteenth century. "The Blessed Hope".
Some of its adherents are embarrassed by Futurism's Jesuit pedigree and claim a patristic origin. They point to earlier writings since by selective quote mining of the Church Fathers, and extra-Biblical writings, Ribera laid a foundation for his theory.
However, a close investigation reveals that the "Fathers" borrowed Futurist elements not from the Bible, but from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, which greatly influenced their views of end-time events. Futurism is nothing more than a fanciful extrapolation of the Beliar myth, convoluted around real scripture, and neatly packaged by the Jesuit Ribera.
Cherry picking quotes from the "Fathers" is a well-worn path to heresy that the Jesuits have made into a highway to hell. The writings of the "Early Father's" are not to be trusted as either inspired or genuine. Besides the obvious pagan influences in the writings of the Fathers, Rome is notorious for promoting forgeries to bolster its claims, the most famous (admitted) forgery being The Donation of Constantine.
They have corrupted many of the ancient fathers, and reprinting them, make them speak as they would have them. . . .They have written many books in the names of these ancient writers, and forged many decrees, canons, and councils, to bear false witness to them." Ephraim Pagitt Christianography, part ii. p. 59, London, 1636.
Dr. Adam Clarke the great Bible commentator, had this to say about quoting the Fathers: "... nor a heresy that has disgraced the Romish church, that may not challenge them as its abettors. In points of doctrine, their authority is, with me, nothing. The word of God alone contains my creed. Commentary on Prov.8.
Protestants use the Bible alone as their rule of faith (with good reason), and verifiable facts of history to constitute fulfilled prophecy. However, if one was to abandon the word of God and go by what the Hellenized "Fathers" actual taught, it is not what modern Futurists claim.
In some aspects (as in their adopted Beliar myth), it cannot be denied that some of the Fathers seem to advance elements of futurism, but only when taken out of context. In actuality, the writings of the Fathers DISPROVE modern futurists - something the "quote miners" don't like to talk about.
The Fathers saw the restrainer not as the Holy Spirit, but Pagan Rome, just as Historicists teach. (Documented HERE)
Also, the Fathers were not proponents of a pre-tribulation rapture, no matter how much pre-tribbers would like to believe so today.
We can find no trace of pretribulationism in the early church; and no modern pretribulationist has successfully proved that this particular doctrine was held by any of the church fathers or students of the Word before the nineteenth century. Dr. George E. Ladd (Documented HERE)
In other words, many of the "Fathers" expected the anti-Christ (personal like the mythical Beliar) to appear immediately after the fall of Pagan Rome (not removal of Spirit), to rise among its 10 divisions, and for the Church to go through tribulation. Two of the Fathers predicted the end would come before 400 AD, three of them predicted it would come in 500 AD and several more before 800 AD.
Despite these facts, some futurists follow Ribera in attempting to legitimize their views with selective quotes from the Fathers, while ignoring quotes that flatly refute modern futurism. This is intellectually dishonest and completely misleading.
The Fathers did not have the perspective that history gives us (this was a future event to them), but looking backward, we can see a power did indeed rise from the 10 divisions of Rome that fulfills the prophecies. It conducted its reign of terror as prophesied, and it's still with us today heading into it's predicted final judgment and doom.
Some futurists object to the historicist interpretation on the grounds that the anti-Christ must be a single person (beliar myth), not a power or dynasty. Yet what does the Bible say? Daniel 7:23 tells us that the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom (not a man) upon the earth. In Dan.7:24 the horns are Kingdoms (not individuals). Of course, Kingdoms have a dynasty of individual Kings or rulers at their head, so they can be represented figuratively by their ruler(s).
The little horn power (universally acknowledged to be THE anti-Christ) is styled as a horn (Kingdom) with a man at its head (a ruler) Dan. 7:24.The Bible defines its own symbols and figurative language. To ignore God's own definitions and impose your own by forced literalism, is unwise, to say the least.
Another dimension to this prophecy is time. Futurists are totally inconsistent in that they quite rightly adhere to the Bible's "day for a year" principle for the 70 weeks of Daniel, but ignore it completely for the 1260 days (years) prophecy. They also follow the Jesuit Ribera in inserting a gap of 2,000 plus years in Daniel 9, with no scriptural authority. This unconscionable butchery of scripture is exposed later in this article by an extract from "Approaching End of the Age" by H. Grattan Guinness D.D.
...it is estimated by careful and credible historians, that more than fifty millions of the human family, have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy by popish persecutors..."History of Romanism," pp. 541, 542. New York: 1871.
Traditional Protestant eschatology (historicism), has no trouble identifying who claimed the prerogatives of God and waged war against the saints of the most high. It fulfilled all points of the prophecies, only it's final judgment and destruction remains.
A Great Cloud of Witnesses: "Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Bunyan, the translators of the King James Bible and the men who published the Westminster and Baptist confessions of Faith; Sir Isaac Newton, Wesley, Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards; and more recently Spurgeon, Bishop J.C. Ryle and Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones; these men among countless others, all saw the office of the Papacy as the antichrist." Taken from All Roads Lead to Rome, by Michael de Semlyen. Dorchestor House Publications, p. 205. 1991.
Most futurists believe they will be secretly raptured away before the tribulation, so why even be concerned? Of course, not all are pre-trib, and not all ignore the prophecies that point to the Papacy, but since they still push the anti-Christ (and tribulation) into the future, and see him as one man (not a dynasty), they do not feel compelled to take action in the present.
Dave Hunt is a dispensational futurist and his timeline and tribulation scenario is far from the Historicist position. However, I applaud him for at least identifying the Papacy as the woman of Rev. 17-18 in his book "A Woman Rides the Beast". He explains his position in this video.
Unfortunately, Hunt like others of his ilk, summarily dismiss a well-known FACT of history. It's such a huge, glaring, obvious, and incredulous omission, that one wonders are they blind, or simply being intellectually dishonest?
Pagan Rome split into 10 Kingdoms centuries ago (FACT OF RECORDED HISTORY), and the predicted little horn power (Papal Rome) already rose and fulfilled most of the prophecies in the Dark and Middle Ages. We need not look for another split into 10 divisions of the NWO, or a personal anti-Christ to reign in the future. We are heading into the final judgment of the great whore of Rev. 17-18 (not it's reign). The Bible is clear about when the end will come... Daniel 2:44 - ...in the days of these Kings...
"The historian Machiavelli, without the slightest reference to this prophecy, gives the following list of the nations which occupied the territory of the Western Empire at the time of the fall of Romulus Augustulus (476 A.D.),... ten in all......And the division is as apparent now as ever... ...it confronts the skeptic with its silent but conclusive testimony to the fulfillment of this great prophecy. Who can alter or add to this tenfold list of the kingdoms now occupying the sphere of old Rome? Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, England, Holland, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal - ten, and no more; ten, and no less."-"The Divine Program of the World's History," by H. Grattan Guinness D.D., pages 318-321.
Futurists like Hunt have departed from orthodox Protestant Eschatology (Historicism), and it's timeline. Historicism quite easily and forcibly proves the Papacy to be the little horn of Daniel 7, the man of sin, the anti-Christ, and the whore of Babylon. Not some future individual but a dynasty, a centuries-old system with an ever-changing individual at its head. At least Hunt still manages to identify Rome as the power we are warned about in Rev. 17-18.
Unfortunately, many futurists do not share his concerns. In fact, a false ecumenism for political expediency has even led to alliances with this corrupt system as evidenced by the 1984 document Evangelicals and Catholics together. Similar agreements and conciliatory statements by Anglicans, and astoundingly even Lutherans have become commonplace.
The naivety and compromise involved are illustrated by this 2007 statement where the Papacy reaffirmed that it's doctrines (which it martyred millions of Christians for refusing to accept in the past) have not changed, and that it alone (through apostolic succession) constitutes the true Church - claiming all others as false.
Every Reformer, without exception, spoke of the papacy as Antichrist" - R. Allen Anderson, Unfolding the Revelation, p.137
The scandals making headlines today pale in comparison to its past activities, and it seems no matter how many times this pretensions power makes headlines for its evil activities, futurists are unable to admit that a system claiming the prerogatives of God and fulfilling all the prophecies of anti-Christ, is ALREADY in our midst.
To maintain their delusion, futurists sweep wars and inquisitions under the carpet, along with vice, tyranny, corruption, persecution, bank scandals, stolen babies, pedophilia, political manipulation, and gross doctrinal "differences". All are glossed over, truth is sacrificed on the altar of unity, and history becomes an exercise in revisionism.
Unfortunately, the children repeatedly raped and tortured by the Pope's emissaries, do not have the luxury of turning a blind eye to evil, in order to deny eschatological blunders. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is full of victims who can attest that the reformers claims are not just an academic dispute over doctrine or a misunderstanding of history, the evils perpetrated by the Vatican are a brutal, painful, frightening reality - even today.
In 2011, SNAP filed a complaint case with over 22,000 pages of evidence, calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute the Vatican for crimes against humanity. More specifically the evidence shows in great detail that the Vatican is responsible for rape and other sexual violence and for the physical and psychological torture of victims around the world.
Even the conservative Catholic Prime Minister of Catholic-dominated Ireland, after reviewing several horrific government inquiries, has denounced the Vatican in no uncertain terms.
"The rape and torture of children were downplayed or 'managed' to uphold instead the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and 'reputation'... because of the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied, Kenny called for action by the government to make sure the law will always supersede canon laws that have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country." Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
A government inquiry into the residential schools for native children in Canada also exposed sexual depravity and murderous violence. Similar inquiries in Ireland, Australia, Denmark, and elsewhere, reveal child torture on a worldwide scale. Much more could be said on this subject, for a deeper view please read this article Vatican - Crimes against Humanity
Why is it, that even in our modern world such monstrous evil is allowed to masquerade as the representation of God himself? As strange as it seems, most Protestants today (and of course Catholics), are allowing the very power the Reformers pointed to as the fulfillment of anti-Christ, to interpret the prophecies of anti-Christ for them.
If the Vatican can't be trusted to tell the truth about the rape and torture of children, how is it that so many trust it to tell the truth about Bible prophecy? It's like the sheep asking the big bad wolf (in sheep's clothing), to tell them where the wolf is hiding!!!
The response given by the clever wolf is in the future (Futurism), or in the distant past (Preterism), but never in the present where it would be exposed. If people really understood Bible prophecy, the charade would end, the facade would crumble, the pretense of Holiness would no longer be a hiding place for evil - the wolf would lose it's sheep's clothing. Preterism has never been that popular, but futurism has become the strong delusion of the end times.
Christ's statement, you shall know them by their fruits, has become ignore their fruits.
WAKE UP and hear the voice of the true Shepard - JESUS. Flee from this impostor and never trust your children to it again. Don't buy into its false version of prophecy, or it's revisionist history. Heed the words of Christ - you will know them by their fruits.
The tragedy of futurism is that it has everyone scouting the horizon for some future anti-Christ while the real one commits atrocities right under their noses. Those duped by futurism are typically good, well-meaning Christian people, who help spread the deception unawares. WAKE UP.
The Papacy's Concordat With Germany Signed Just Before The War
Futurism has been vehemently opposed by Protestant scholars for centuries, but it was adopted by John Nelson Darby in the 19th century and spread to America. Today it is taught almost everywhere by Conservative Evangelicals as dispensational futurism. The historicist view of the great Protestant reformers and scholars of the past four centuries has in effect been replaced by fables.
Jesuit futurism is so highly promoted in popular books and movies today, that for most people it's the only interpretation of prophecy they have heard of. So pervasive is the indoctrination into this false paradigm, that Its veracity is assumed. Cognitive dissonance and denial have become the typical reactions when the real truth of Bible prophecy is presented.
Charles H. Spurgeon (often called the prince of preachers) admonished the Evangelicals of his day who were sliding into this erroneous teaching to beware. His words ring even truer today.
Evangelical Churchmen, lovers of the Lord Jesus, how long will you remain in alliance with the defilements of High Churchism? You are mainly responsible for all the Popery of your Church, for you are its salt and its stay... ...Beware, lest you be found in union with Antichrist, when the Lord cometh in his glory. Come out for Christs sake. Be ye separate, touch not the unclean thing! (Spurgeon, The Sword & the Trowel, August 1865)
This short extract from "Approaching End of the Age" by H. Grattan Guinness D.D., shows the main and most grievous theological error of futurism, now taught everywhere by conservative Evangelicals. I present it in love, with a sincere, heartfelt, and benevolent wish, that if you have been blinded by futurism your eyes will open.
One of the gravest evils of futurism is the terrible way in which it tampers with this great fundamental prophecy (Dan.9:27), applying it to the future doings of some ideal Antichrist, (instead of) its Divine description of the past deeds of the historic Christ.
To hear their disquisitions (inquire diligently) on the subject, one would suppose the Antichrists seven years covenant with the Jews was as unquestionable an event as Gods covenant with Israel on Sinai! Few would surmise how frail the foundation on which this cardinal doctrine of Futurism rests.
Few would suppose that the notion has really no solid ground at all in Scripture, but is derived from an erroneous interpretation of one single clause of one single text.
The only basis for the idea is the expression in the 27th verse of the 9th chapter of Daniel. The sentence occurs in the midst of Daniels celebration prophecy of the 70 weeks, a prophecy that does not even allude to Antichrist, but is exclusively occupied with the first advent of Christ, His rejection and death, and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, which was the result.
Interpreted in the light of history, as a fulfilled prophecy, this remarkable chronological prediction affords conclusive evidence of the Messiahship of Jesus, of the inspiration of Scripture, and the divine origin of the Christian faith.
What are the words of this sacred and marvelous prediction given between five and six hundred years before Christ?
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall even in troublous times.
And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
And He (Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (Or during the one or last week): and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it (i.e. the city) desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate or desolator. Dan. 9:24-27
This prophecy was given just as the 70 years captivity in Babylon was drawing to a close. It announces the duration of the restored national existence of Israel up to the great epoch of all history, the advent of Messiah the Prince. It was foretold that within 490 years from the date of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem, the long foreshadowed, long predicted supreme atonement for sin was to be accomplished by the advent of Messiah the Prince, reconciliation for iniquity effected, and everlasting righteousness brought in; that vision and prophecy should be sealed up, and the most Holy anointed.
This period was then subdivided into three parts: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week; i.e., 49 years, 434 years, and 7 years. The rebuilding of the city, and the re-establishment of the Jewish polity would occur in the first forty-nine years or seven weeks. Four hundred and thirty-four years more would elapse, and then Messiah the Prince would appear.
After that, at some time not exactly specified, but within the limits of the seventieth week or last seven years of the period, Messiah would be cut off; but not for Himself. It is further foretold that Jerusalem and its temple would subsequently, and as a consequence, be destroyed, and that a flood of foreign invasion would overflow the land. But though thus cut off, Messiah would confirm the covenant with many (not the whole nation) during the course of the one week; in the midst of it He would cause sacrifice and oblation to cease. Jerusalem should then be made desolate, until a certain pre-determined doom should fall upon the power that should desolate it; a fact which our Lord afterwards foretold in the words, Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
All this was accomplished with wonderful exactness. The edict to restore and build the city was issued by Artaxerxes, and Ezra and Nehemiah were the two great restorers of Jewish people, polity and religion. Their joint administration occupied about seven weeks or forty-nine years; the wall and the street were rebuilt in troublous times. After a lapse of 434 years more, Messiah the Prince did appear, saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; i.e., the time indicated by this very prophecy. He came unto His own, but alas! His own received Him not! He was cut off; but not for Himself! Shortly after the Roman Soldiery the people of a prince that shall come (Titus) did destroy the city and the sanctuary; the end of Jewish independence came with a flood of foreign invasion, and predetermined desolation fell on land and people. But though the nation was thus judged, Messiah did confirm the covenant with many.
What covenant? and how did He confirm it? This is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you, said He to his disciples the night before His passion [Luke 22:20]; or as Matthew and Mark give the words: This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins. He shall confirm the covenant with many, said the angel to Daniel [Dan 9:27]. My blood of the new covenant shed for many, said Christ.
Is not His blood declared to be the blood of the everlasting covenant. And is not He Himself repeatedly styled the Mediator of the new covenant? [Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24] And can any Bible student doubt what is the event predicted, when in immediate connection with the coming and cutting off of Messiah, it is added, He shall confirm the covenant with many? (see also Heb 8).
What excuse is there for introducing into this most solemn and touching prophecy of the life and death and work of CHRIST, the political action of some future Antichrist? It is needless, groundless, unpardonable discord!
Antichrist making a league with the Jews! What? in a prophecy which speaks of the accomplishment of atonement, of the making an end of sin, of the effecting of reconciliation, of the bringing in of everlasting righteousness!
What has Antichrist to do here?
Oh! he is the prince that shall come of v. 26, it is answered.
Impossible! That prince was the prince of the people who did the deed here predicted, destroyed the temple and city of Jerusalem in consequence of the Jewish rejection of Messiah. That must be Titus, for it was his Soldiery that did this. Then where is Antichrist in this prophecy? It is replied that even granting the earlier reference to be to Titus, still it is Antichrist who in the midst of the week causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease. No! the Actor is one and the same in all the clauses of v.27 Messiah Himself.
Who else put and end to the sacrifices offered by the law continually, and caused them to cease by the offering of one sacrifice for sins forever? What was it that did actually as a matter of historic fact, cause the Jewish sacrifice and oblation to cease? The offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, that offering which took place in the midst of the week that is, in the course of the seventieth of Daniels predicted weeks, the one week which stands alone at the close, the week which comprised the earthly ministry and the atoning death of the Son of God, the giving of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and the formation of the Christian Church.
Christ and His work is one great theme of this prophecy. The judgment that should over take the Jews for rejecting Him, and Titus and the Romans, by whom these judgments were to be inflicted, are mentioned, but there is no allusion to Antichrist. How could there be? 490 years includes chronologically the events foretold here, and Antichrist is not yet come according to futurist views! How then could he figure in a prediction, which expired 1800 years ago? Oh, it is said, The angel said 490 years but he meant plus 1800 or 2000 years; there is a chronological gap of the length between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks. The last week has not begun yet. When it does begin, Antichrist will appear and make his covenant with the Jews. To state such a theory ought to suffice for its refutation. Language has lost all meaning if a definite period of 490 years, interposed between two great historical events, may be extended by two thousand years. Prophetic revelations of such a character would be worse than none; for they would be misleading and deceptive.
Not thus was the forty years wandering in the wilderness lengthened! Not thus was the Babylonian captivity measured! If God condescends to give chronological predictions at all, they will be truthful, accurate, and divinely exact. The events mentioned as occurring in the midst of the last week, occurred within 490 years from the Edict of Artaxerxes. They are long, long past. The prophecy is a fulfilled prophecy. The judgments on the Christ-rejecting nation continue, it is true, and will continue till the end of this age; even until the consummation, and that determined be poured upon the desolator. But the object of the prophecy was not to announce these judgments, but to measure the interval to Messiah the Prince. It was given to intimate beforehand the period of the greatest events of all history, the greatest events of time, not to say the greatest events of eternity, the atoning death of the Son of God, and the establishment of the new covenant.
The great anti-christian power, symbolized as the little horn and called the man of sin, and the eighth head of the beast, being the last form of Gentile power, and belonging to these times of the Gentiles, has little to do with the literal Israel, or the literal Jerusalem, or the literal Temple.
He (Antichrist) co-exists not with a recognized Jewish nation, but with the rejection and dispersion of the Jews, and with a recognized professing Christian Church. His sphere is not Palestine, but Christendom; his throne is not Jerusalem, but Rome; his victims are not Jews, but Christians; his end and doom are brought about by that event which marks the commencement of the restoration of Israel to Gods favor the second advent of Christ; when Israel shall look on Him whom they pierced, and mourn because of Him, and when the times of the Gentiles shall be ended. APPROACHING END OF THE AGE by H. Grattan Guinness D.D. pages 711-717
"...It is a matter for deep regret that those who advocate the futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist." Rev. Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 16, 17.
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