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Author Topic: The Antichrist Beast Power - Exclusively a Single Man?  (Read 1178 times)

Offline Lysimachus

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The Antichrist Beast Power - Exclusively a Single Man?
« on: March 12, 2011, 06:10:36 PM »
Greetings brothers and sisters!

Below is included an article I wrote which is essentially an excerpt from upcoming book, "Vindicating the Historicist Hermeneutic".  The name will probably later change to something more understandable to the public, such as "Vindicating the Historical Approach of Bible Prophecy".  In the past, I have sent the following article to some of you, but regardless, here is a highly updated and revised version.  Included in a link below is the Printable PDF version which includes a “Misconceptions Corner” that deals with some misconceptions pertaining to Historicism.  For those of you who do not know what "Futurism", "Preterism", or "Historicism" is, I suggest you scroll down to the bottom of this article to the "Recommended and Related Sources" section is, and there you will find plenty of information to study up on.  Included in these sources is an article that traces Jesuit Futurism back to not only "futuristic elements" from the early Church Fathers such as Irenaeus and Hippolytus, but shows that these Church fathers borrowed these "futuristic elements" from elements found in the Pseudepigraphal (extra-biblical) writings written by Hellenistic Jews, and stemming back all the way to the Beliar Myth and Persian Zoroastrian dualism. You will also find a distorted version of Daniel's 70th week in some of these extra-biblical writings which were clearly unbiblical and not part of the sacred Canon of scripture.

I will be continuing to send necessary tools to as many of those who advocate the Historicist position of Bible prophecy as I can to help them vindicate the faith in these times when our doctrines are being severely tested by the fiercest opposition. Says an insightful author: "Some are not close Bible students. They are disinclined to apply themselves diligently to the study of God's word. In consequence of this neglect they have labored at great disadvantage and have not, in their ministerial efforts, accomplished one tenth of the work which they might have done had they seen the necessity of closely applying their minds to the study of the word. They might have become so familiar with the Scriptures, so fortified with Bible arguments, that they could meet opponents and so present the reasons of our faith that the truth would triumph and silence their opposition." (2T, 499)

This reminds me of the Bible passages that say:

"For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist." (Luke 21:15)

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15)

"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." (Ephesians 5:11)

My expertise is dismantling the ideologies inherent in Dispensational Futurism and Pretribulationalism, yet at the same time I respect and admire the strong faith that many proponents of this ideology hold.  It is my prayer that these materials will prove to aid Bible students in the cause of vindicating and defending the foundational pillars of our faith.

Enjoy!

We will begin with the following article:

The Antichrist Beast Power - Exclusively a Single Man?
by Lysimachus

The most popular argument pertaining to the antichrist circulating in the Christian world today is that the Antichrist cannot be the Papacy because he must be exclusively a single man who rules for an exclusive future period for a literal 1260 days or 3 ½ years. They say that a man can simply not live for 1260 years long; therefore, the Papacy does not fit this criterion.

But is this criterion Biblical?  Do we interpret the words of Daniel, Paul and John to such literalism that we completely miss what they were truly trying to convey?

Allow me to quote Tim McHyde, a staunch Futurist proponent from TimMcHyde.com who comments on the Historicist perception in an attempt to refute its hermeneutic concerning the Antichrist.

Notice:
Quoting McHyde:
----------------------------------------------------------
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 papacyarose 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). ~ (Tim McHyde, http://timmchyde.com/historicism-antichrist/)
-----------------------------------------------------------
End Quote


In response, I will begin by respectfully saying that these arguments put forth reveal a complete disregard for the consistency required in order to arrive at well-balanced conclusions on prophetic interpretation in relation to symbolism. They are completely devoid of sound and logical exegesis once put up to the Biblical test.

The Bible gives us the rules of interpretation.  We do not need to guess.

Please take careful notice as we break down the rules of prophetic interpretation in relation to kingdoms and powers:

1. Daniel 7:23 tells us that the "fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth". Therefore, we see that a Beast represents a kingdom. Not a single man.

2. Revelation 13 does not call the Beast "a man", rather, it uses the terminology "he". If this beast is "one man", how does he have 7 heads and 10 horns?  Daniel also tells us that horns can represent kingdoms.  Daniel 8 verses 9 and 23 prove this without a shadow of a doubt, that these 4 horns are "four kingdoms".  Saying that a horn is a "king" is another way to express it (verse 21)--”simply for the fact that a king is the head of a nation, and the king is the representative figure OF a nation.

3. 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 describes the Antichrist power as the "man of lawlessness", and "son of perdition". The argument that this must be exclusively one man in the future is based on poor exegesis, and we shall see why.  First of all, Paul warned that in his day, the "mystery of lawlessness" was already at work in his day (verse 7), and that this would continue ALL THE WAY until the consummation of our Lord, when "that LAWLESS ONE will be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth" (verse 8 ). This proves that it cannot be exclusively a single man, because Paul unequivocally and unapologetically expresses that this mystery of lawlessness was already beginning in his day (yes, the very elements of Catholicism were already brewing through the savage wolves who were entering the church), and would continue ALL the way until the coming of the Lord. That's the Papacy for you! It began in Paul's day, it showed its head after Paul died, and it's still in existence today. A PERFECT fulfillment! It has received a deadly wound (Revelation 13:3) terminating its Dark Age reign, but this wound is in the process of being healed (13:12).

4. While it is undeniable that the Papal Church is headed by a single man, the Pope--”we must remember that at the same time it is wrong to assume that this "man of sin" must be exclusively and only a "single man in the future". We should have no doubt that the Pope is a physical expression of the "Man of Sin". However, let us be careful to not stretch this to the point that the "man of sin" does not "include" an entire system through its dynastical line of Popes. While Paul expressly uses "the Man of Sin" in 2 Thess 2:3, Paul also uses the expression "Man of God" in 1 Tim 6:11 and 2 Tim 3:17 which state: "But thou, O MAN OF GOD, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."..."That the MAN OF GOD may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

Let us raise the question: Is there only ONE "man of God"? It is interesting how Paul himself uses both expressions "The Man of God", and "The Man of Sin". We begin to see, therefore, that it is the officiating authority and seat of the Popes being spoken of here, not a single man exclusively isolated into the future.

5. Regarding the notion that it is "an unauthorized allegorization" to throw an entire system into the Lake of Fire, take careful note to the following texts which cause this argument to fall flat on its face:

"And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with HER, shall bewail HER, and lament for HER, when they shall see the smoke of her burning." (Rev 18:9)

"And HER smoke rose up for ever and ever." (Rev 19:3) -- compare with..."And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the BEAST and the FALSE PROPHET are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Rev 20:7)

Let us raise two reasonable questions:

(a) Who is the "HER" in these texts that is burning? It's the Harlot Woman of Revelation 17, is it not? And she represents the system of Babylon according to Revelation 17:18.

(b) If our critics can accept that this Harlot Woman is also a system that will burn for ever and ever, and that it is not a single woman, should it not be just as easy and reasonable for them to conclude the same for the Beast and False Prophet?

Just because the entire Harlot Woman system will burn forever and ever doesn't mean everyone who WAS in the system will burn with her. They will separate from her. This is why they are called to COME OUT of HER (Babylon)! (Revelation 18:4)

If the woman can be identified as a "she", yet represent a system (because we are called to "come out of HER") why can't the Beast also be referred to as a "he", and still be a system as well? The prophet Daniel in chapter 2 verse 38 refers to Nebuchadnezzar and says "THOU art this head of gold" concerning the dream of the great metal statue. Was Nebuchadnezzar the head of gold, or was it the entire kingdom of Babylon? Obviously both! But Nebuchadnezzar was the representative of his kingdom! Verse 39 says "And AFTER THEE shall arise ANOTHER KINGDOM!"

Are we now getting a clearer picture of prophetic terminology?  I believe so. A king and a kingdom are used interchangeably to represent a kingdom!  According to the literalistic principles laid out by Futurists concerning the Beast and the False Prophet, consistency would demand that the Harlot Woman of Revelation be a single and literal woman.  Are they willing to push it this far?  Or are they willing to allow the Bible to be its own interpreter?

If you have pet lion, and it is a male lion, and someone asks you "where is your lion?", what would you say?  You would say "he's in the cage"!  No wonder the beast of Revelation 13 is referred to as a "he". A ferocious beast is no doubt identified with a male. A male lion with wings is a "he" too. The lion in Daniel 7 is recognized by most Biblical scholars as "Babylon". Interestingly, Babylon is also represented as a "her" in Revelation.

Finally, and conclusively, we have that famous passage from Paul in Romans chapter 13 concerning the higher powers of Rome. In rebuking those who felt they needed to physically rebel and take up arms against the Roman Empire, as well as avoid paying their taxes to Caesar, please carefully notice Paul’s terminology concerning the Pagan Roman power:

"(1) Let every soul be subject unto the HIGHER POWERS. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  (2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the POWER, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  (3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:"

[Now pay close attention to the following the rest of this passage:]

(4) For HE [the POWER] is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for HE beareth not the sword in vain: for HE is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." ~ (Romans 13:1-4)

Here we see that Paul unambiguously declares the power and system of the Roman empire as a "HE" and a "minister" of God to execute wrath upon those who do evil.

We therefore should be able to clearly see how these arguments put forth by both Preterist and Futurist authors against the historical understanding of the Antichrist are not built on solid principles of prophetic interpretation. Unbeknownst to the majority in the Christian world, much of this confusion is due to the infiltration of Jesuit works which began at the Council of Trent in the mid 16th century to counter the Reformation and eliminate from the minds of the people that the Antichrist of Bible prophecy could ever be realized in the Papal System.  It is my invitation to all Preterists and Futurists (and all those who subscribe to Dispensationalism and its kin) to abandon these Jesuit inspired theologies at once.  They were clearly meant to mask the identity of Antichrist so that the world can no longer see its applicability to Rome.  This is exactly what the Devil has been trying to accomplish with the Protestant Christian world for the last 500 years.

May God help us in these last days to study diligently so that we might discern what the Bible is truly trying to convey to us regarding these matters. Let us pray earnestly that we may not fall victim to false interpretations of scripture that can lead us down the path of deception, and ultimately, destruction.

May truth and righteousness reign supreme in our lives!

Recommended and Related Sources (links):

- Futurism: The Counterfeit Prophecy:
http://www.hearingthetruth.org/chapter8.pdf by D.S. Farris (This article traces Futurism all the way back to the extra-Biblical (Pseudepigraphal) writings stemming back to the Beliar Myth)

- Futurism's Incredible Journey:
http://secretsunsealed.org/downloads/futurismsincrediblejourney.pdf by Pastor Stephen Bohr (This article documents the incredible journey of Futurism, and how it has impacted modern Protestantism)

- Futurist and Futurism Truth:
http://www.futurist-futurism.com/

- Preterist and Preterism Truth:
http://www.preterist-preterism.com/

- Historicst and Historicism Truth:
http://www.historicist-historicism.com/
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 09:16:35 AM by Lysimachus »

Offline Lysimachus

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Re: The Antichrist Beast Power - Exclusively a Single Man?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 06:14:19 PM »
Misconceptions Corner

Q) Are Historicists essentially "Preterists"? Do Historicists deny "Future Applications" of Bible Prophecy?

A)  I have run into a number of Futurists who accuse Historicists of essentially believing in Preterism. They argue that both Historicism and Preterism essentially operate on the same principles, and only differing in time periods. But I hope to show this to be categorically untrue. Historicism is JUST as much or more opposed to Preterism and its principles as is Futurism. Both Futurism and Preterism deny the day-for-year principle as defined for us in Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34, along with a host of other day-for-year parallels found in scripture. Both principles place the Antichrist outside of the Dark Ages, either into the distant past during the time of Antiochus Epiphanies IV or Nero, or exclusively into the future during a 7 year tribulation. In fact, I believe Preterism actually has more in common with Futurism than does Historicism. Futurism, like Preterism, in most cases identifies the Little Horn of Daniel 8 as Antiochus Epiphanies IV, but they say that the Little Horn of the Beast in Daniel 7 is different from the Little Horn in Daniel 8, and they push Daniel 7's Little Horn as the future Antichrist. Like in Daniel 7, Historicism applies the Little Horn of Daniel 8 also to Rome, except in chapter 8 it encompasses both Pagan and Papal, whereas in chapter 7 it is only dealing with its Papal phase.  In addition, Preterism, like Futurism, takes the 1260 days or 3 ½ years of tribulation and makes them literal days rather than symbolic days which stand for years according to Historicists.

I also believe that Futurists constantly confuse "Futurism" with a "Future Application". They wrongly conclude that we Historicists place no prophecies into the future, and assert that, like Preterists, we place the Antichrist and great tribulation in the past like the Preterists, except we apply them during the dark ages. But there is a big difference that they are missing. Futurism has to do with the fact that the Antichrist is placed EXCLUSIVELY (take note, "exclusively") beyond the year 1798.  The Early Church Fathers, such as Ireneaus and Hyppolytus held "futuristic elements" no doubt.  But these "futuristic elements" were not enough to make them "Futurists", because they lived prior to the rooted establishment of the arm of the Papacy, primarily 538 (the precise date is insignificant however).  What makes one a Futurist, is that they bypass 1000+ years of history, and insert a "gap", by making the Antichrist exclusively one single man. Also keep in mind that men like Ireneaus and Hyppolytus believed the world would end around 500 A.D. which would have understandably eclipsed their ability to comprehend a future 1260 year Antichrist reign from their time.  The fact that we are living some 1500 years beyond that date establishes their limited perceptions of prophecy to be "outdated". It would seem that Futurists should know this, but they ignore it.

Futurists do not need to get us wrong, for we do believe in a Future Tribulation, and we do believe in a future Antichrist manifestation. While some Historicists may disagree, I personally believe there is a small possibility for there to be a literal Future 1260, 1290, and 1335 days based on Daniel 12. But this is only a "secondary" application, neither is it a dogmatic one of mine. I'm a historicist to the core, but even if there was a future application to this prophecy, this does not make me a "Futurist", rather, this would simply add the next scenario in the grand prophetic puzzle, because when you evaluate Historicism, Historicism is very flexible, and it allows future applications!  We also mustn't forget that Matthew 24 has about three applications regarding the great tribulation. The first application has to do with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by Titus and the Christians who were to flea to Pela. The secondary application points to the 1260 years of Papal persecution during the Dark Ages. And the third application points to the very end of the world. If Matthew 24 can have more than one application, could it be that perhaps Daniel 12 might also?

It should be noted that Futurism exclusively forces the bulk of the prophecies in Daniel 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and Revelation 11, 12, 13, and 17 into the future.  Historicism evenly spreads them out in a "continuous fashion", taking into account the "PAST", the "PRESENT", AND the "FUTURE".

So yes, there will be a future application....this has to do with the healing of the wound of the beast.  This is the "second manifestation" of the Papacy. Paul makes it very clear that the "mystery of lawlessness" (2 Thess 2:7) was already at work in Paul's day, and finally he concludes in verse 8 that the "Lawless one would be destroyed by the brightness of His coming" (Verse 8 ).  This emphatically suggests that the Antichrist Power began in Paul's day, and will continue till the very end of time. The Papacy meets this fulfillment to an exact T.

A twist to this whole thing is that many Historicists do believe there will be a "single Antichrist-individual" just before Jesus comes. But this does not eclipse the plain Biblical fact that the previous succession of line of Popes did not fill the seat of Antichrist. The Biblical evidence is quite convincing that Lucifer will impersonate Christ and deceive millions of people after he musters his crowning act of deception after deceiving the masses as the coming Christ of the dawning of the new age. He may even seat himself into the Vatican, and the papacy will crown him Pope. So there is a "dualistic" application. While the Antichrist "system" is fulfilled in the Papacy, this Antichrist system will manifest itself with a single man--that being Lucifer who will take the Seat of St. Peter himself, impersonating an Angel of Light (or a Messenger of Light as the Christ, but the false one at that.  This is after the wound that was received in 1798 is fully healed!

This is clearly NOT Futurism. If you think about it, these future applications do not in any way destroy the sound principles of Historicism for which ALL our Protestant Reformers subscribed to. These future events are simply a future application, or to put it in other words: Historicism finally reaches its “climax” on its future side.

In concluding, I wish to emphasize that Historicist is nearly a dead and forgotten breed among the modern evangelical world. This hermeneutic of prophetic interpretation is founded on the principles of Revelation 1:4, 8, 19; 22:16 which state....

"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which IS, AND WHICH WAS, AND WHICH IS TO COME; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne." (1:4)

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which IS, AND WHICH WAS, AND WHICH IS TO COME, the Almighty." (1:8 )

"Write the things which thou HAST SEEN, and the THINGS WHICH ARE, and the THINGS WHICH SHALL BE HEREAFTER." (1:19)

In essence, I fully believe that the Historicist hermeneutic is congruous with the nature of God. The application takes serious note to the "Past", "Present", and "Future" applications of Bible prophecy, by avoiding the pitfall of stuffing too much to the future, or too much to the past--but rather gives careful attention to the "continuous" fulfillment of Bible prophecy throughout human history. I believe that Historicism is not only well-backed by scripture, but is also supported by volumes of exegetical Historicist works from some of the greatest Bible minds of the past which have been largely forgotten by the popular evangelical world of today, especially beginning around 1850 and on.

In closing, I will briefly conclude this preliminary letter with some salient points concerning Preterism. In no possible way can Historicism be “essentially” categorized with Preterism as Futurists would like to be.  The past fulfillments of prophetic events are not what define Preterism. What defines Preterism is the placement of the Apocalyptic events relating to the Beast, its Mark, the great tribulation, the seven seals, seven churches, and seven trumpets as all transpiring before the Papacy was firmly established, and as being fulfilled during the time of Pagan Rome.  This is what “makes” the preterist interpretation. Adventist-Historicists are just as much or more valiantly opposed to this perfidious teaching as are Futurists. While the Preterist school of prophetic interpretation was founded by Catholic Jesuits, Johannis Hentenius and Louis de Alcazar in the 16th century, the Futurist teaching was sprouting up about the very same time by other Catholic Jesuits, namely Francisco Ribera and Robert Bellarmino.  All this was a ploy stemming from the Council of Trent to uproot the God-ordained reformation teachings that pin-pointed the Man of Sin seated on the Papal Throne. 

Historicism sees the apocalyptic events as commencing in the days of the Apostles and stretching all the way to the very end of time. It recognizes a total of three tribulation periods upon God's people---Pagan Rome (Antiquity), Papal Rome (Dark Ages), and Revived Papal Rome (yet future).  What remains is the full healing of the deadly wound that was inflicted in 1798.


« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 09:55:04 AM by Lysimachus »

 

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