Posts Tagged ‘Futurism’

The looming expiry of Title 42 is expected to bring an influx of migrants to the southern US border.

Your land, strangers devour it in your presence.

  • Isaiah 1:7

When I was a kid, I remember going on a snipe hunt.  A snipe, we were told, was this somewhat mysterious beast that came out at night, and it was our job to catch one.  The problem was nobody seemed to really know what a snipe looked like.  That’s a bit of a problem.  Because if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can’t recognize it, even if it’s standing right in front of you.  Unsurprisingly, our search for the mythical snipe, while it was a lot of fun, ultimately proved fruitless.

The contemporary Protestant church is much like we kids were on our snipe hunt.  Books are written about Antichrist and some people seem to know who he is or was.  The preterists will tell you Antichrist has long since come and gone in the person of the emperor Nero.  We have nothing to fear from him in the 21st century.  The futurist school, which dominates in our own time, sees Antichrist as having not yet come. While preterism and futurism come to very different conclusions about the identity of Antichrist, they have this one thing in common, there is no current Antichrist.    

Actually, preterism and futurism have something else in common:  They were both developed by the Jesuits during the counterreformation to take the heat off the pope, whom the reformers almost to a man had identified as the Antichrist, man of sin, and son of perdition of the Scriptures.  This stance, identifying the office of the papacy as the Antichrist, is one facet of the Protestant school of prophetic interpretation known as historicism. 

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Martin Luther as Hercules Germanicus by Hans Holbein, 1523. “In the picture, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham, Duns Scotus and Nicholas of Lyra already lay bludgeoned to death at his feet and the German inquisitor, Jacob van Hoogstraaten was about to receive his fatal stroke. Suspended from a ring in Luther’s nose was the figure of Pope Leo X,” The Reformation Room.

There is no other Head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.

  • Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 25.6

“I have no idea who Antichrist is.”  I don’t remember anything else about the sermon.  I don’t even recall the name of the man who preached it.  But I do remember it was on a Sunday morning in December 2006 that I heard those words, “I have no idea who Antichrist is,” come from the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. 

I case you’re wondering, no, it wasn’t D. James Kennedy who made that comment.  It was a guest preacher, whose name escapes me.

It’s just as well I don’t recall the man’s name who uttered those words.  For it seems to me that what he said that Sunday could well be said by most of the professing reformed church, both in 2006 and in 2021.  No one, it seems, has any idea who Antichrist is. 

It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma, to borrow a turn of phrase from Winston Churchill.  Or at least that’s how it seems to most Christians today. 

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