The Pope Invented Futurist Prophecy?
ne of the more outrageous false doctrines of our time is the idea that the Papacy was somehow responsible for the widespread Christian belief in the futurist prophetic perspective. For those unversed in technical theo-speak, futurism is the belief that primary events in Bible prophecy, such as the tribulation, are still in the future.
The main rival to futurism is historicism, or those who see prophecy as having been fulfilled in a sweeping assignment of historical epics that are symbolic of various prophetic texts. This approach, steeped in the Protestant tradition, usually claims the office of the Pope is the Antichrist, and claims that Revelation’s 1,260 days (42 months, or 3 ½ years) are actually 1,260 years in which the “Antichrist” Pope reigned – at least until the Protestant Reformation.
The false prophets of Seventh Day Adventism (SDA), plus some of the mainstream Protestant denominations, are the primary propagators of this faulty system. SDA also commonly claims the Vatican plotted to disseminate the idea of a future Antichrist, in order to deflect scrutiny from themselves. As is frequently the case with the corporate cult of Seventh Day Adventism, the historical facts are decidedly different.
Hundreds Of Years Of Historicism
It is self evident that Roman Catholicism has strayed light years from the original Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the harlotry associated with the church is indefensible. However, the contrived criticisms of Catholicism, offered by the blind leaders of contemporary historicism, simply heap more error upon earlier error.
Citing centuries old Protestant writers, who wrote polemics against Rome during a period when Protestants and Catholics were still in violent and murderous conflict, modern SDA figures twist the truth to suit their own agenda. A good example of this is a Seventh Day Adventist oriented writer named Steve Wohlberg.
Part of a vanguard of what could be termed “Stealth Adventists,” such as Henry Hills, Glen Walker, and Richard Carlson of Florida (who all have Internet based ministries), these false teachers have crept in among Remnant believers to peddle their apostate doctrinal wares. This type of prophecy oriented ministry is characterized by the fact they rarely (if ever) identify themselves as Seventh Day Adventist, instead opting to propagate SDA doctrine while characterizing themselves as Protestant – clearly an intentionally deceptive tactic.
Steve Wohlberg, for example, has dozens of articles, which are pure SDA, yet he consistently cloaks his identity, even as he seeks to label his own outlook with the deceptive label of “Protestant.” The strategy is similar to the age-old approach used by missionary pairs of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claimed to be “just another Christian denomination.”
Using the 19th century writings of Protestant writer E B Elliot in order to wrap his false Adventist doctrine in a cloak of legitimacy, Wohlberg claims that Jesuit writers invented the concept of future prophetic fulfillment to hide the identity of the Papal Antichrist:
“Elliot also shows clearly through historical research that both the Preterist and Futurist schools were definitely put forth by Jesuit scholars in their earnest attempts to divert the unanimous Protestant application of Daniel's "little horn" prophecy and Revelation's "beast" prediction to the rise and work of papal Rome.” (Steve Wohlberg, Preterism, Historicism, Futurism Explained)
This is a highly misleading use of citation, as it attempts to show support for the Adventist’s contrived contention that the Papacy is the Antichrist, by a scholar who wrote at a time when the Seventh Day Adventist church did not exist. Furthermore, Adventism’s patently false claim that America is the False Prophet (the 2nd beast of Revelation) was never heard of by Protestants from this period, because the doctrinal theory was largely drawn from a book by SDA figure Ellen G White, a book that would not be written until decades after Mr. Elliott’s citation was penned.
Seventh Day Chicanery
What Wohlberg and other SDA pretenders usually fail to mention is how the futurist perspective rose to prominence in America immediately following the embarrassing failure of historicism’s most infamous prediction – the William Miller prophecy that stated the second coming of Christ would occur in 1844.
In what is now widely recognized to be the forerunner of Seventh Day Adventism, the Millerite Movement formed the nexus of the cult that became the Seventh Day Adventist church. The Millerite Movement spontaneously erupted around the historicist teaching (and false prophecies) of a Protestant minister named William Miller. His interpretive system was essentially the very same system of historicism NOW used by the Seventh Day Adventists.
Timothy Weber, a talented scholar who has meticulously documented the rise of futurism in recent times, shows how the apostate Papacy had nothing to do with it:
“…by 1875 a new kind of Premillennialism, called “Dispensationalism,” began gaining wide acceptance among evangelicals who had considered the earlier Adventists fools and heretics. They likewise rejected the historicist’s `year-day theory’ for dating prophetic events…” (American Premillennialism, page 16)
The aforementioned belief in Premillennialism is the idea of a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth, and since this was considered to be in the future, Premillennialism represented a return to futurism – or the future fulfillment of prophecy. The data shows the renewed American belief in futurism was largely a result of the failed prophecies of historicism. Thus, there is only a scant theory that any alleged conspirators in Rome ever sought to put forth such a system in order to hide the collective Pope’s supposed identity as the Antichrist – and there is absolutely no evidence futurism arrived in America because of it.
Ironically, when futurism really took hold in Europe and North America, it was largely because of the failure of the historicist system now espoused by Seventh Day Adventists! Thus, SDA is blaming the Pope for a religious development that can be traced to their own door.
Connecting the dots is relatively simple. When historicism claimed the Pope was the Antichrist who would rule for 1,260 years (using the year for a day concept previously mentioned), his supposed reign would have ended in the 17th century (or the 19th century at the latest), and Christ should have returned. To put it another way, since Protestants dated the rise of the Papacy as early as the 4th century AD, and as late as the 6th century AD, 1,260 years would have been concluded by the 19th century AD at the very latest.
Because Revelation obviously teaches the end of the “1,260 year” Antichrist would be followed by the 2nd coming, and the “tribulation” had long since ended, the entire system of historicism was thrown into disrepute. As the dominant system of prophetic interpretation had fallen apart under the weight of its own inadequacy, it is not an accident that during that same 19th century the world saw dozens of cultic alternatives proposed.
Thus, America saw the introduction of the Rapture Cult, and the fraud of Seventh Day Adventism during the same period we were treated to the audacious false doctrine of Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and even Mormonism. It was as if some sort of restraint was being removed from Pandora’s Box, which was evidently filled with false prophetic doctrine.
The Scriptures Versus The Shysters
Tracing a prophetic approach’s historical development does not prove or disprove a doctrine, as the Word of God is the lamp unto our path. One reason so many perspectives have succeeded is the inverse of the “little leaven leavens the loaf” principle. It could also be said, A little light is appealing on a pitch black planet.
The truth is, the Scriptures have not only told us there would be a wholesale “falling away” (II Thessalonians 2:3) from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ towards the end of the age, they also indicate that God would raise up true understanding that would be taught in the midst of great darkness and opposition:
“And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Daniel 11:33, 12:10)
In a widely misconstrued prophecy, Jesus also told us the deceivers will be those who “say that I am Christ” (Mark 13:6), as He plainly taught the deceptions would largely emanate from Pastors and Priests, Messianic Rabbis, and denominational structures that loudly proclaim that Jesus is Lord.
Cultic systems which offer simplistic silver bullets such as the pretribulation rapture, the Sacred Name heresy, and a plethora of “mark of the beast” identifications, all sidestep the Biblical requirement that we must be born again, and turn our individual lives over to Christ. He is the head of the body, and if we are not functioning with Him in charge of our every thought, we will fall in the ditch like the proverbial blind man leading another.
Aberrational doctrine that codifies salvation through confirmation ceremonies, keeping the Sabbath, saying the LORD’s name in Hebrew, or politically supporting Jewish Supremacy as part of God’s plan are all rabbit trails designed to deceive. The fact is, in order to obey the voice of the LORD, we must first have ears to hear it. And the sad truth is, the sectarian churches, “Christian” fellowships, and denominational corporations have ALL become “the habitation of devils.”
“Come out of her” is only half the command to counter Babylon’s
influence. The other half is Come Unto Me, saith the
LORD Jesus Christ.
- James Lloyd
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