Jesuit Origins of Futurism PROVEN

PART five

EDITED BY Rand Winburn

Revelation 8: The first four trumpets
The Controversy: Are the first four trumpet judgments literal or allegorical, symbolizing apostasy in the Church?

Jesuit/ Futurist Interpretation

1582 Jesuit Rheims Bible Annotations:

          [Editor’s note: On this issue the Rheims Bible is silent. However, it views the Angel bearing incense as other than Christ, giving plausibility to the doctrine of angels and saints – not Christ alone - as mediators between God and men.]

1590 Jesuit Ribera Revelation Commentary:

          [Pareus on Ribera, re: the four trumpet judgments]:

“Most interpreters understand these Angels to be preachers of the Word: whose office it is (like trumpeters who announce events or edicts of Princes) to proclaim the will of God unto men…..Ribera denies that the Angel bearing the golden censer is Christ…..He makes the altar to symbolize Christ; the censer, by a strained metaphor he applies to the Body of Christ, full of holes like a censer, due to the wounds He received at His Passion. Therefore, he imagines that the Angel [not Christ, our Mediator] offers up the prayers of the Saints. The thunders, voices, earthquakes, etc., he takes literally for the signs prognosticating the future calamities of the ungodly…..Now [we Protestants believe] the Church hath no other High-Priest, but Christ alone: therefore, in applying this office to a created Angel and not to Christ, Ribera robs Christ the honor of His Priesthood, making the Saints in Heaven mediators who deserve our praise. But this wicked invention is contrary both to this vision as well as the whole drift and scope of the Revelation……Ribera understands the great mountain burning with fire literally of a great fiery globe which at a certain time be thrown into the sea….Ribera, desirous to be singular in interpreting the trumpets literally, doth very foolishly apply the great star falling from heaven to some fiery exhalation falling from Heaven, interpreting all these signs [as by our common, natural experiences. True, it is natural and common knowledge] that such fiery mixtures often appear in the air. [But it is not true] that the name of this Star and its making the waters bitter is [common or natural. Thus, this trumpet judgment] cannot be taken literally. But Ribera dares not interpret it otherwise, lest he should have been forced to apply it to the apostasy of the Roman Antichrist. All other interpreters, for the most part, understand this ‘falling star’ to be a particular eminent heretic or several heretics…..Andreas, Ribera and others, understand the fourth trumpet judgments to denote the wonders foretold in Joel 2 and Matt. 24: There shall be signs in the Sun, Moon and Stars, etc., all of which should occur immediately prior to the Day of Judgment.” [Editor’s note: Ribera posits a literal sense to these trumpet judgments – judgments which take place during the 3 ½ year tribulation under Antichrist.]

1867 J. N. Darby Synopsis of the New Testament - Revelation:

          Then follow specific judgments, on the signal being given from above. They fell on the Roman earth, the third part of the earth (see chap. 12:4). First, judgment from heaven, hail and fire; and violence or destruction of men; on earth blood: the effect was the destruction of the great ones in the Roman earth, and of all general prosperity. Next, a great power, as the judgment of God, was cast into the mass of peoples — still, I apprehend, in the Roman earth; for destruction of men, and all that belonged to their subsistence and commerce followed in those limits. Next, one that should have been a special source of light and order in government fell from his place, and corrupted the moral sources of popular motives and feelings — what governs and sways the people so as to characterize them. They became bitter, and men died of it. The last of these four plagues falls on the governing powers, and puts them out in their order, as from God: all in the limits of the Roman earth. This closed the general judgments, subverting and producing disaster and confusion in the Roman earth, where the power of evil, as against the saints, was.” [Editor’s note: Darby definitely allegorizes these judgments as symbolizing other than the literal. For example, the great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea he views as a great power cast into the mass of humanity.]

1909 Scofield Reference Bible Annotations:

            [Editor’s note: Scofield is silent on this issue. However, he views Christ as the incense-bearing Angel.]

1973 Hal Lindsey Revelation Commentary:

          “Although it is possible for God to supernaturally pull off every miracle in the Book of Revelation and use totally unheard-of  means to do it, I personally believe that all the enormous ecological catastrophes described in this chapter are the direct result of nuclear weapons…..To John’s eyes, unsophisticated as to ICBM’s, the holocaust he witnessed looked like ‘hail and fire, mixed with blood’ raining down from the atmosphere. This devastation seems to be a massive nuclear attack much larger than the first one described in the sixth seal of Chapter 6……Notice that [verse 8] specifies ‘something like a great mountain burning with fire.’ Again John describes this phenomenon in terms of how it looked to him. This is probably either an enormous meteor or, more likely, a colossal H-bomb…….I believe that this ‘star’ [in verses 10-11] is another thermonuclear weapon which is part of a series of exchanges between the nuclear powers……I believe that this light reduction [in verse 12] will result from the tremendous pollution in the air left from nuclear explosions.”  [Editor’s note: Lindsey is a literalist with modern-day explanations as to cause: nuclear weapons.]

1982 Jack Van Impe Revelation Commentary:

          “We have no difficulty understanding [verse 7] literally. The same kind of judgment occurred in Exodus 9:22, 23….It happened then; now it happens again!......This judgment [verse 8] is undoubtedly a giant meteor falling into the sea……God only knows what horrendous plagues will result when nuclear war under, upon, and above the oceans takes place……A star, a meteor, soaring through space, speeds toward earth [verse 10].”  [Editor’s note: Van Impe is a literalist.]

1999 Tim LaHaye Revelation Commentary:

          “Although it is impossible to be dogmatic, it is doubtful that this ‘other angel’ [verse 3] is the Lord Jesus Christ, even though He is our great High Priest………The best way to decide whether the trumpet judgments are literal or symbolic is to study them in connection with the plagues of Egypt, as found in Exodus 7-11…..Why should the result on earth be less physical than the event in Moses’ day?......No one suggests that what happened in Egypt was not literal in its form of judgment on the rebellious Egyptians; thus, we can conclude that the same thing applies during the Tribulation period and that the trumpet judgments introduce physical judgment on the earth……What appeared to John as ‘a huge mountain’ [verse 8] is probably a giant burning meteorite that falls into the Mediterranean Sea……The third trumpet judgment introduces us to a burning ‘torch’ that visibly falls from heaven, indicating it is another meteorite.” [Editor’s note: LaHaye is also a literalist. He holds Ribera’s view in not identifying the incense bearing Angel as Christ.]

Protestant Reformed Historicist Interpretation

1618 Thomas Cartwright, A Confutation of the Rhemists….:

           [Editor’s note: Because Cartwright wrote to refute the annotations of the Rheims Bible only, he did not address the trumpet judgments. Cartwright refutes the notion that any but the Lord Jesus Christ could be the incense bearing Angel by offering several substantial proofs, including 1 Tim. 2:15.]

1573 William Fulke Revelation Commentary:

          “This [incense bearing] Angel represents Christ, who is not an angel by nature, but by office, and whom Malachi the Prophet calls the Angel of the Covenant. For when the most dangerous of persecutions were at hand under the tyranny of Antichrist, which is revealed in the opening of the seventh seal, Christ comes forth into the presence of God, being the Head, Preserver and Defender of His Church against the dangers at hand…….When every one of God’s Judgments is revealed, an Angel blows a trumpet beforehand, then a vision follows which explains the judgment. The sound of the trumpet is a sign that God will open something which ought to be received of men with due reverence and attention. And the angel notes by these prophetic figures the proceedings and increase of the tyranny of Antichrist, which by the just judgment of God he shall obtain through the whole world. This St. Paul writes in 2 Thess. 2, that they which received not the love of the truth that they might be saved should be deceived with lies that they might be damned. He uses similar allegories in the seal and vial judgments, whereby John understands that the sentence of God pertains to the whole body of Antichrist, and every part thereof. He includes, therefore, the earth, plants, sea, stars, heaven, air, and all things found therein, so that nothing remains untouched. These things, therefore, I have forewarned that we should not too curiously seek subtle and curious expositions in every word when John describes each calamity in this manner, which is prophetic language used by the Prophet.” [Editor’s note: The first trumpet judgment Fulke views as allegorical, pertaining to the famine of God’s Word and lack of true doctrine, as well as the bloody wars instituted by Antichrist.]

             “At the sounding of the second trumpet, which warns that the second judgment of God should be made manifest, there seemed to fall into the sea, as it were, a marvelous great mountain burning with fire. A horrible sight, no doubt, and full of terror, and truly there needed such a wonderful sign to the describing of the kingdom of Antichrist, which follows immediately after the lack of spiritual food. For this great mountain doth signify the kingdom of Antichrist. For it is usual in the Prophets that kingdoms and commonwealths are signified by mountains, as in Isaiah and Daniel. By the sea, which is a gathering of many waters, the Holy Ghost understands in this book the infinite multitude of people divided into divers nations, kindreds and tongues…..And this plague is sent into the world by God in His wrath because it would not esteem the most fruitful Mount Zion, that is, the kingdom of Christ. Therefore, the world is compelled to bear the most sharp and bitter tyranny of Antichrist, for it had refused to bear the most sweet and pleasant yoke of Christ…….

          “The third angel sounding his trumpet, the Prince and head of this fiery mountain fell from heaven in the likeness of a great star burning as a torch. In past times, the Bishop of Rome shone in the heavens, beautiful to behold with the beams of heavenly doctrine, but afterward had, little by little, degenerated into a strange and usurped government (of which the ancient writers complained more than one thousand years ago) and began to fall from heaven towards the earth, until at length, for the establishing of his pride and tyranny, he poisoned and infected all pure doctrine with his own inventions, an so in the end he fell into the third part of the rivers and fountains. This star takes his name, Wormwood, from the effect of his deadly poisonous doctrine on the pure waters of sound doctrine. As many as drink thereof shall perish with everlasting death, unless a speedy remedy against the poison is taken. And the waters which this star poisons are called ‘bitter’…..for there is no taste of heavenly and spiritual sweetness in Popery, but a mere butchery of conscience. This is discovered only by those awakened out of their sleep of false security (in which most Papists drown), having been pricked with the sense and feeling of their sins. From this example we may learn that no drop of this bitter water, that is, papal doctrine, is to be mingled with the pure Gospel of Christ, lest it should be tainted with this pestilent and poisonous bitterness.

          “When sound doctrine was corrupted with the pestilent devices and inventions of men, what could possibly remain sound in the Church? [By the fourth trumpet judgment] the third part of the sun, moon and stars was smitten with thick mist and darkness, especially in Antichrist’s kingdom. Here it is, by the just judgment of God, that foul ignorance, even as a dark cloud, is sent into the eyes of those who were willingly blind, despite the light of knowledge and understanding which remained…..” [Editor’s note: Fulke warned against literal interpretations, applying the trumpet judgments in a spiritual sense to Antichrist and his followers.]

1644 David Pareus Revelation Commentary:

Editor’s note: Pareus was no literalist. See:

1847 E. B. Elliott Revelation Commentary:

        “The four first Trumpet-visions….depict the destructive action of a series of tempests, successfully affecting the third part of the Roman earth, third part of the sea, third part of the rivers, and third part of the firmamental luminaries. By English Protestant interpreters they have been generally explained, and I doubt not truly, of those successive invasions and ravages of the Goths, chiefly in the 5th century, which ended in the subversion of the Western Empire [i.e., the fall of the Roman Empire in the West].” [Editor’s note: Elliott taught the continuous historical application of the Revelation. The judgments depicted were symbolic of actual historic events.]