Jesuit/ Futurist Interpretation
1582 Jesuit Rheims Bible Annotations:
[Editor’s note: The Rheims Bible does not teach a ‘secret’ Rapture of the Church. Instead, it teaches the Church present on earth during the reign of the Antichrist.]
1590 Jesuit Ribera Revelation Commentary:
[Editor’s note: Ribera does not teach a ‘secret’ Rapture of the Church before the Tribulation. He does, however, teach the ‘secret’ Coming of Christ, invisibly, to destroy Antichrist, forty five days prior to the end of the world. Thus, he teaches a two-stage Return of Christ, the first invisible, to the earth, to destroy Antichrist; the second visibly, to the earth, in the last Day of Judgment. This 2-stage Coming of Christ theory Futurists teach today. Ribera teaches the Church will be present during the reign of Antichrist, though Christ will rescue them before they are utterly destroyed. This differs from the present day Futurist position, i.e., that Christ will rescue His Church before the reign of Antichrist. Ribera has Christ rescuing the Church 45 days before the end of the world, whereas present-day Futurists have Christ rescuing the Church 7 years before the end of the world.]
Pareus Explains Ribera’s View of Christ’s Return in Two-Stages
[Pareus exegeting Rev. 19:11] “I see no reason why any should doubt that the last Judgment is here described. For it is certain by the testimony of the Apostle that Antichrist shall not be consumed, but by the brightness of Christ’s coming in the end of the world. Here the glorious coming of Christ and the destruction of Antichrist is evidently prefigured……Neither does Ribera deny this, if his words be well weighed. Notwithstanding, he falsely alleges that here is described I know not what for an invisible descent of Christ from Heaven before the last Judgment, to succor the saints wrestling and striving with Antichrist and his ministers. But what is his reason? ‘Because Antichrist shall not be in the last Judgment.’ But this is false reasoning and against that which the Apostle teaches, 2 Thess. 2:8, for Antichrist shall be destroyed by the last coming of Christ. Therefore, he shall remain until then. Now Ribera’s fiction depends upon another falsehood, i.e., that Antichrist shall be killed forty five days before the Day of Judgment, which we have before refuted. Besides, it is manifestly repugnant to the saying of Christ, But of that day and hour no man knoweth, no, not the Angels.” [Editor’s note: Pareus wisely understands once we have a firm countdown, such as a hypothetical 45 days to the end of the world, Christ becomes the liar, who said it is impossible to know the time of His return at the end of the world. The same impossibility holds true for the Futurists who insist the Church will be raptured to Heaven exactly 7 years prior to the end of the world.]
1867 J. N. Darby Synopsis of the New Testament - Revelation:
“An open apostasy will come. Its date is not revealed; nor is it revealed as to the rapture. But I gather from 2 Thessalonians 2, that the rapture will be before the apostasy. What we have stated then is, that it is after all dealing with the assemblies by Christ is closed, that the subsequent dealings with the world in the Revelation begin. The assemblies are the things that are; what follows, the things after these. Christ is not now seen walking in their midst; He is the Lamb in the midst of the throne. John is not occupied with seeing Him there, or sending messages to the assemblies, but is called up to heaven where all the ways of God are now carried on, and that towards the world, not the assembly……….. The saints then, who will be caught up to meet Christ, are seen only on high here; they belong to heaven, and are no longer dealt with on earth, but have their own place in heaven.
“The connection between the two parts of the Apocalypse is this: Christ, who was judging in the midst of the professing church, is now seen on high, opening the book of this world’s judgment, of which He is about to take the inheritance publicly. From this scene of judgment the saints are far. The apostle’s occupation with the assembly now ceases — an important point, for the Holy Spirit must be occupied with it as long as the saints are in it on earth;…………” [Editor’s note: Darby teaches the Rapture of the Church to occur at Rev. 4:1. By so doing, the Church, he claims, will escape the reign of Antichrist and the coming Great Tribulation. All Futurists agree on this point.]
“…….The seven Spirits of God are there in the temple, not Christ’s to wield for the assembly, or sent out into the world, but the perfections in attributes which characterize the actions of God in the world.” [Editor’s note: Darby teaches the removal of the Holy Spirit from earth at the Rapture. Most Futurists agree with this point, LaHaye excepted.]
1909 Scofield Reference Bible Annotations:
“This call [Come up hither] seems clearly to indicate the fulfillment of 1 Thess. 4:14-17; [i.e., the Rapture of the Church]. The word ‘church’ does not again occur in the Revelation till all is fulfilled.” [Editor’s note: Scofield teaches the Rapture of the Church occurring at Rev. 4:1; the Revelation no longer speaks of the Church on earth. The Church, therefore, will not go through tribulation; the Revelation is now concerned with the events at the end of the world.]
1973 Hal Lindsey Revelation Commentary:
“Jesus told John to write about three things: first, the things he’d seen in the glorified Person of Jesus; second, the things that were spiritually significant in the churches of John’s day – churches whose experiences would typify conditions throughout church history until Jesus returned for His people; third, things that would take place after all these things – in other words, events at the end of the world………now in Revelation 4 begins the story of John’s space travel to heaven where he saw the things that will take place both there and on earth following the close of church history.
“It’s important to note that the Church has been the main theme of the Revelation until Chapter 4. Starting with this chapter, the Church isn’t seen on earth again until Chapter 19, where we suddenly find it returning to earth with Christ……..Will the Church go through the tribulation?.......I personally believe that the Bible teaches the Church will escape these calamities….I believe Scripture teaches clearly that believers will be kept from the ‘time of trial’ which God will send upon the world to try unbelievers (Rev. 3:10).………Part of the confusion on this issue rises from a failure to distinguish two stages in Jesus’ coming.” [Editor’s note: Ribera also taught two-stages.]
“One passage of Scripture speaks of Christ coming in the air and in secret, like a thief coming in the night. Another part of the Scripture describes Christ’s coming in power and majesty to the earth, with every eye seeing Him. Both of these can be true only if there are two separate appearances of Christ in the future…….
“As I said earlier, the Church is mentioned nineteen times in the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation and isn’t mentioned once as being on earth from Chapters 4-19!.......Following this prophetic warning, Christ will remove His people in the Rapture, and then judgment such as man has never known will sear the world for seven years……John has been called up into heaven to be shown the things which must happen after the Rapture, both in heaven and on earth.”
1982 Jack Van Impe Revelation Commentary:
“Chapter four begins the prophetical future. Remember chapter 1, verse 19: Write the things which thou has seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. That text presented three tenses and informed us that the Book of Revelation is written in chronological order: the past – chapter 1; the present – chapters 2 and 3 (the history of the present churches to the present time); and the future – chapters 4-22…….[In Rev. 4:1] John states, ‘After this.’ After what? After the completion of the history of the seven churches. After this, John sees a door opened in heaven and hears a trumpet-like voice loudly and victoriously crying, Come up hither. This is the rapture of the church of Jesus Christ…….there are two aspects, or stages, in the process of Christ’s second coming, and both begin with the letter ‘r.’ We have already designated the first phase as the Rapture. The second phase is called the Revelation. Chapter 4 describes phase one, while phase two is described in chapter 19. The intervening chapters – 6 through 18 – basically cover a seven-year period called the Tribulation. The Rapture (chapter 4) precedes the Tribulation, and the Revelation (chapter 19) follows the seven-year period of judgment. Chapter 4 is a meeting in the air, whereas chapter 19 is a return to the earth…..The Come up hither of Revelation 4:1 is synonymous with the call of 1 Thess. 4:16,17……..The question often arises, ‘Will the church of Jesus Christ be on earth during the Tribulation hour?’ The answer is an emphatic, ‘NO!’ The Church is mentioned sixteen times in the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, but is not found in chapters 6 through 18 – the Tribulation period. Why?”
1999 Tim LaHaye Revelation Commentary:
“Rapture Before Tribulation…..Inasmuch as John was the last remaining apostle and a member of the universal Church, his elevation to heaven is a picture of the Rapture of the Church just before the Tribulation begins…..There are at least four reasons for locating [the Rapture] here….2. The absence of any mention of the Church in the rest of Revelation indicates that it is not on the earth during the Tribulation. There are sixteen references to the Church in Rev. 1-3, whereas chapters 6-18, which cover the Tribulation, do not mention the Church once……the Bible teaches one coming of Christ in two installments. The first is His coming in the air to rapture His Church prior to the Tribulation, and the second describes the Glorious Appearing, when He comes for everyone else at the end of the [seven-year] Tribulation period, just before He establishes His thousand-year kingdom…..”
Protestant Reformed Historicist Interpretation
1618 Thomas Cartwright, A Confutation of the Rhemists….:
[Editor’s note: As with all Reformers, Cartwright taught the Church to remain on earth to battle the Papal Antichrist and His false church. All viewed the Revelation as the entire history, foretold, of the circumstances which the true Church shall endure, from John’s day until the end of the world. Because there was not as yet propagated the false doctrine of the ‘secret’ Rapture escape of the Church before Tribulation, he had no reason to refute it.]
1573 William Fulke Revelation Commentary:
See note above.
1644 David Pareus Revelation Commentary:
See note above, and click on the link to read Pareus’ denouncing the false interpretation given the Revelation by the Jesuits: http://www.iconbusters.com/iconbusters/htm/true_ch/david/remarks.htm
1862 E. B. Elliott Revelation Commentary:
“I have to thank God for permitting me once again to revise this work on the Apocalypse. The impression of its importance has deepened in my mind the more I have reflected on it: most especially to the tendencies of religious inquiry, and belief, which characterize the present time. When first I began to give attention to the subject some twenty years ago  it was the increasing prevalence among Christian men in our country of the futurist system of Apocalyptic interpretation – a system which involved the abandonment of the opinion held by all the chief fathers and doctors of our Church respecting the Roman Popes and Popedom as the great intended anti-Christian power of Scripture prophecy, - suggested to me the desirableness, and indeed necessity of a more thoroughly careful investigation of the whole subject that had been made previously. For thereby I trusted that we might see God’s mind on the question; all engaged in that controversy being alike agreed as to the fact of its being expressed in this prophecy, rightly understood: and whether indeed in God’s view Popery was that monstrous evil, and the Reformation a deliverance to our Church and nation as mighty and blessed, as we had been taught from early youth to regard them. Even yet more does the importance of the work strike me at the present time, when infidelity has become notorious prevalent among our educated men…..[I maintain] the hypothesis of the Revelation being indeed a Divinely inspired prophecy of ‘the things that were to come to pass’ in the histories of the Church and world, from after the time of St. John, two characteristics, as it seemed to me, might undoubtedly be expected to attach to its sacred prefigurations: the one that the eras and events selected for prefiguration would be those of greatest importance in the subsequent history of Christendom; the other that the prophetic picturings of such events and eras would in each case be so specific and definite as to be applicable perfectly and accurately to those eras and events alone.” [Vol. 1, Preface.]
Elliott Summarizes History of Futurist Interpretation of the Revelation
“The futurist Scheme was first, or nearly first, propounded about the year 1585 by the Jesuit Ribera; as the fittest one whereby to turn aside the Protestant application of the Apocalyptic prophecy from the Church of Rome. In England and Ireland of late years it has been brought into vogue chiefly by Dr. S. R. Maitland [an Anglican] and Mr. Burgh [a Plymouth Brethren]; followed by the writer of the four Oxford Tracts on Antichrist [ Anglican-turned-Cardinal, John Newman]. Its general characteristic is to view the whole Apocalypse, at least from after the Epistles to the Seven Churches, as a representation of the events of the consummation and second advent, all still future: the Israel depicted in it being the literal Israel……..[and] instead of being in any measure chained down by the facts of history, they can draw on the unlimited powers of fancy, wherewith to devise in the dreamy future whatever may seem to them to fit the sacred prophecy.” [Vol. 4, p. 597].