The Counter-Reformation and Futurism, by Sean Sutton

Sean Sutton

One of the main foundations of the Protestant Reformation was the Historicist method of interpreting Bible prophecy. The Antichrist has very effectively shifted the blame from itself through the popular prophetic mode of interpretation known as Futuristm.

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The following is adapted from the book “Mystery Babylon & the Agents of Antichrist,” which is available in our Store.



According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “Under the stress of the Protestant attack there arose new methods on the Papal side and their authors were [Ed.: Jesuits Luis de Alcazar and Francisco Ribera].”i

The Jesuits were commissioned by the Pope to create a new system of interpreting Bible prophecy would counteract the Protestant application of the Bible’s prophecies regarding the Antichrist to the Roman Catholic Church. All the reformers’ studies pointed the finger directly at the Roman Catholic Church as the Antichrist power described in Daniel as the “little horn.” For more information on this fact, see the article “Reformers Identified Antichrist.”

Francisco Ribera (1537-1591), a Jesuit from Spain, came to the aid of the little horn by developing the doctrine of futurism. He claimed that the prophecies concerning the antichrist refer only to a single man who will come on the scene at the end of time and would be received by the Jews and who would rebuild Jerusalem. The Papacy quickly adopted this viewpoint as the Church’s official position on the Antichrist.

Ribera later published a commentary on Revelation as a counter interpretation to the Protestant view which identified the Papacy as the Antichrist. Ribera applied all of Revelation to the end time rather than to the history of the church. He likewise denied the Protestant Scriptural Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2) as seated in the church of God-as asserted by Augustine, Jerome, Luther, and many reformers. He set on an infidel Antichrist, outside the church of God.

“The word ‘antichrist’ literally means ‘opposed to’ or ‘in the place of’ Christ, and in its most subtle and diabolical manifestation it concerns something which [Ed.: or someone who] claims loyalty to Jesus while really leading away from Him.”ii
Irish Protestant Christian preacher, evangelist and author, Henry Grattan Guinness (1835-1910), informs us on the two most popular methods of interpreting Bible prophecy – Futurism and Historicism:

“… If an officer of justice arrest a man because he perceives that he answers exactly to a description of a notorious criminal published by the Government as a help to his identification, is it likely that the man himself will admit that the description fits him? He will of course deny the correspondence, but his denial will carry no weight. On turning to the history of prophetic interpretation this is precisely what we find. With many varieties as to detail we find there have existed, and still exist, two great opposite schools of interpretation, the Papal and the Protestant, or the futurist and the historical. The latter regards the prophecies of Daniel, Paul, and John as fully and faithfully setting forth the entire course of Christian history; the former as dealing chiefly with a future fragment of time at its close.
“The former futurist, system of interpreting the prophecies is now held, strange to say, by many Protestants, but it was first invented by the Jesuit Ribera, at the end of the sixteenth century, to relieve the Papacy from the terrible stigma cast upon it by the Protestant interpretation. This interpretation [Ed.: held by the Protestants, i.e. the Historicist interpretation] was so evidently the true and intended one, that the adherents of the Papacy felt its edge must, at any cost, be turned or blunted. If the Papacy were the predicted antichrist, as Protestants asserted, there was an end of the question, and separation from it [Ed.: i.e. the Roman Church] became an imperative duty.
“There were only two alternatives. If the antichrist were not a present power, he must be either a past or a future one. Some writers asserted that the predictions pointed back to Nero [Ed.: with the Preterist interpretation]. This did not take into account the obvious fact that the antichristian power predicted was to succeed the fall of the Caesars, and develop among the Gothic nations. The other alternative [Ed.: Futurism] became therefore the popular one with Papists. Antichrist was future, so Ribera and Bossuet and others taught. An individual man was intended [Ed.: as taught in Futurism], not a dynasty [Ed.:according to Historicism]; the duration of his power would not be for twelve and a half centuries, but only three and a half years; he would be an open foe to Christ, not a false friend; he would be a Jew, and sit in the Jewish temple. Speculation about the future took the place of study of the past and present, and careful comparison of the facts of history with the predictions of prophecy. This related, so it was asserted, not to the main course of the history of the Church, but only to the few closing years of her history. The Papal head of the Church of Rome was not the power delineated by Daniel and St. John. Accurately as it answered to the description, it was not the criminal indicated. It must be allowed to go free, and the detective must look out for another man, who was sure to turn up by-and-by. The historic interpretation [Ed.: Historicism] was of course rejected with intense and bitter scorn by the Church it denounced as Babylon and the power it branded as antichrist, and it is still opposed by all who in any way uphold these.”iii

Michael Bunker concurs with Guinness when he says:

“In 1590, a Jesuit named Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) had begun to write commentaries explaining away those scriptures that plainly taught of the Catholic Church as an element of the Antichrist system. Specifically, Ribera wrote a commentary in 1590 that placed a whole new ‘spin’ on Daniel 9:27. Ribera became the first theologian in over 1500 years to teach that the ‘he’ in Daniel 9:27 who confirmed the covenant and put an end to sacrifice was actually ‘antichrist’ and not the Messiah. It had been the uniform teaching of the church since the death of Christ that the ‘he’ who had put an end to all sacrifices on the Cross was Jesus Christ. But the Jesuits needed to create a NEW concept of antichrist, one that was not so easily identified with Rome. By creating the concept of a seven year tribulation, transported way into the future, Ribera was able to divert attention from the most blatant antichrist that had his seat in Papal Rome.”iv

These mainstream methods of Bible interpretation are clearly wrong when one examines the validity of the Historicist method of Bible prophecy (which all of the Reformers taught), in light of recorded history, and sees where the Preterist and Futurist schools of thought originated. Today the Futurist method is the most widely accepted ad taught method of exposition in the “Protestant” world. This has been of great use to the Jesuits as they control the Rothschild-established Zionist state of Israel. The churches that teach blind support for modern Israel have no idea that true Israel is no longer determined by blood, but by those who have faith in the Son of God! This transfer from literal Israel to Spiritual Israel happened at the end of the 70 week/490 year prophecy of Daniel 9, which ended 3 and ½ years after Jesus was crucified, on 34 AD, when the Jewish Sanhedrin stoned Stephen to death as he gave the final plea to the nation’s leaders to accept Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah. Now, since evangelical America unquestioningly supports modern Israel, they are unwittingly backing the Jesuit pawn of Zionism!


i. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, Vol.23
ii. Steve Wohlberg, End Time Delusions: The Rapture, the Antichrist, Israel, and the End of the World, (Treasure House; 2004), p. 89, 186
iii. Henry Grattan Guinness, Romanism And The Reformation From The Standpoint Of Prophecy, (1888), p. 183-185
iv. Michael Bunker, Swarm of Locusts, p. 53