In these New Testament last days which comprise the Church Age, the last age before the return of Christ to judge the world, Christ and His Apostles were not sparse in their warnings to Christians respecting the false Christs – Antichrists – and false prophets, Antichrist’s ministers, who would arise working signs and wonders to deceive, if it were possible, even the very Elect. Included in their signs and wonders would be false doctrines which pertain to the End Times and Revelation. Satan realized the necessity of perverting the Doctrine of Last Things – eschatology – because much of eschatology pertains to the rise and reign of Antichrist, the head of Satan’s counterfeit Church, whom the world and unregenerate professing Christians do not recognize as evil. Satan would like to keep it that way.
Paul’s 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians, always considered a key prophecy pertaining to Antichrist, begins chapter two with the subject of Christ’s return. His disciples had received a false report concerning this doctrine. They were told by unknown persons that Christ’s return was about to occur. Paul calls the report a deception, completely false, perpetrated by deceivers with the intent to mislead. Like the Spirit-taught teacher he was, Paul spells out the order of events which must take place before Christ will return:
(1) Before Christ comes, there must first come an apostasy, or falling away from the truth, verse 3.
(2) Then must come the Man of Sin, Antichrist, verse 3.
(3) But before the Man of Sin can be revealed, that which hinders, restrains and withholds the coming of the Man of Sin must first be taken out of the way, verses 6-7.
Modern-day Futurists pervert this elementary truth and sequence. They claim Christ comes first for His Church – the ‘secret’ Rapture, snatching Christians out of the world, taking away the restraining influence of Christianity and the Holy Spirit, and then will the Man of Sin be revealed to the rest of the unbelieving world. These false prophets teach Christ returns a 3rd time in judgment, exactly seven years later.
Fundamental to these errors are additional falsehoods necessary to carry out their deception:
The Antichrist is not the Pope of Rome.
The Antichrist is one, single individual.
The Antichrist will only arise at the end of the world, during the last seven years.
The Antichrist will claim to be the Messiah, misleading the Jews who receive him.
The Antichrist will sit in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem proclaiming himself God, demanding worship.
The Antichrist will create a New World Religion.
The Antichrist will usher in a period of Great Tribulation unheard of in the annals of history.
The symbolism in the Book of Revelation is to be taken literally.
Tragically, the vast majority of professing Christians do not know the origin of these treacherous teachings. To reverse this ungodly trend, this present writer has gathered together several key sources which teach Futurism for the purpose of tracking the history of its teachings as to the meaning of the Book of Revelation:
(1) 1582 Jesuit Rheims Bible Annotations which teach the foundations of Futurism.
(2) 1590 Jesuit Ribera Revelation Commentary, long known to be the first Futurist commentator of the Revelation.
(3) 1867 J. N. Darby Synopsis of the New Testament – Revelation, the acknowledged ‘father’ of Dispensational Futurism, the most popular form taught today.
(4) 1909 Scofield Reference Bible Annotations, the reference Bible which single-handedly promoted the lie of Futurism with greater success than all publications which came before it.
(5) 1973 Hal Lindsey Revelation Commentary. This false teacher is the ‘father’ of modern-day Futurism. All subsequent commentators follow his lead.
(6) 1982 Jack Van Impe Revelation Commentary. Van Impe is a leader in the Futurist movement, with a huge television audience.
(7) 1999 Tim LaHaye Revelation Commentary. LaHaye is the king of the latest crop of false prophets to arise in our generation. His Left Behind books have been purchased by millions of deceived.
(8) In an Appendix, 1581 Futurist Treatise by Jesuit Cardinal Bellarmine, allegedly proving the Pope is not the Antichrist. (1974 reprint, by Scolar Press, of a 1613 translation by Michael Walpole.)
To offset the teachings of these false prophets, this present editor has compiled a representation of Protestant Reformation commentaries on the Revelation which answer Jesuit Futurism and the false annotations of the Jesuit Rheims Bible. They are:
(1) 1618 Thomas Cartwright, A Confutation of the Rhemists Translation, Glosses, and Annotations of the New Testament, so far as they contain manifest Impieties, Heresies, Idolatries, Superstitions, Prophanesse, Treasons, Slanders, Absurdities, Falsehoods, and other evils.
(2) 1573 William Fulke Revelation Commentary, Prælections upon the Sacred and Holy Revelation of St. John, Translated from the Latin by George Gyfford.
(3) 1607 William Perkins, A Godly and Learned Exposition or Commentary upon the three first Chapters of the Revelation.
(4) 1644 David Pareus, A Commentary upon the Divine Revelation of the Apostle and Evangelist John.
(5) 1847 E. B. Elliott Revelation Commentary, Horæ Apocalypticæ.
In addition, an Appendix reveals the Jesuit origin of the two-stage return of Christ. Another Appendix compares the Futurist teaching of II Thess. 2 to that of the Protestant Reformers.
It is the sincere prayer of this present editor that our Lord would open the eyes and ears of the Elect to the true interpretation of His all-important last message to His Elect Bride.