Reformation and Counter Reformation in Europe....

The Jesuits

The Jesuits are a religious order of the Roman Catholic church. Their proper title is the "Society of Jesus." Originally they were called Compania de Jesus, which is Spanish for "(military) company of Jesus." They were founded (1534-39) by Ignatius of Loyola. He drafted the rules that still govern the society. The training of a Jesuit is long and rigorous. Though not often taught, they were basically founded to combat the Reformation. Jesuit leaders played a major role in Rome's Counter-Reformation. In the 16th and 17th century, this corps labored with measured success in reconverting Protestant areas in South and West Germany, Hungary, France and Poland. They also made several aggressive attempts to reconvert England.

The Christian Church is basically unaware that the futurist school came from this society's scholars. Jesuit priests have been known throughout history as the most wicked political arm of the Roman Catholic church. Edmond Paris, in his scholarly work, The Secret History of the Jesuits, reveals and documents much of this information. Their political intrigue has caused them to be banned from several nations throughout the course of their dubious history. Here is a brief list of nations, and provinces with the dates they expelled the Jesuit order: Portugal al 1759, France 1764, Spain 1767, Naples 1767, Parma and Russia 1820. Several of these nations have once again allowed them entrance. The popes themselves know how wicked this order is. There is much evidence to implicate them in the death of Pope Clement XIV, who was poisoned in 1773.

 

A Jesuit priest named Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) started to work independently. He looked deeply into the realm of Bible prophecy. The result of his work was a twisting and maligning of prophetic truth. Ribera's futuristic interpretation of Daniel chapter nine was furthered by the work of another Jesuit, Cardinal Robert e (1542-1621). These two were swiftly followed by a third, the Jesuit Luis de Alcazar (1554-1613). These men were the best soldiers Rome had. No one ever said Rome wasn't smart. Consistently, when she wants something done, she commissions her best men. Lord, help the Protestants to understand this effective principle. Let us quit raising up men who just agree with everybody. Instead, give us men of courage, truth and wisdom, scholars who are passionately driven by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Let's identify the areas of deception for which these papal warriors were responsible.

In exposing the Romish apocalyptic expositors of the Reformation era, Elliott has given a synopsis of their prophetic positions:

So at length, as the century [16th] was advancing to a close, two stout Jesuits took up the gauntlet; and published their respective, but quite counter opinions on the Apocalyptic subject:—the one Ribera a Jesuit Priest of Salamanca, who about A.D. 1585 published an Apocalyptic Commentary, which was on the grand points of Babylon and Antichrist what we now call the futerist scheme: the other, Alcazar, also a Spanish Jesuit, but of Seville, whose scheme was on main points what we now designate as that of the praeterists.

In taking up the gauntlet, these men could not have imagined that their works would be primarily taught by Protestants in the 20th century! For over three hundred years futurism and we shall define later) were rejected by the majority of ministers AS praeterism (which deceptive hermeneutics from the Roman Catholic church. Now, futurism reigns triumphant, and praeterism is claiming to be the true alternative. God help us! It's time to dismantle this reign of prophetic chaos by clearly exposing the authors and their intent, and by establishing the truth which will scatter all contenders.

When Ribera's commentary first appeared in England, it "excited vehemently the indignation" of the Protestants. The English expositor Brightman read the work and defiantly countered in his Commentary:

But mine anger and indignation burst out against the Jesuits. For when as I had by chance light upon Ribera, who had made a Commentary upon the same holy Revelation, Is it even so? said I Do the Papist take heart again; so as that book, which of long time before they would scarce suffer any man to touch, they dare now take in hand, to intreat fully upon it? What! was it but a vain image or bug, at the sight whereof they were wont to tremble a few years since, even in the dim light, that now they dare behold to look wishly upon this glasse in the clear sunshine and dare proclaim to the world that any other thing rather is poynted [pointed] at in it than their Pope of Rome?

In his excellent book, Great Prophecies of the Bible, Ralph Woodrow summarized the prophetic doctrine of Ribera:

Ribera published a 500-page commentary on the grand points of Babylon and Antichrist fin Sacram Beati Ionnis Apostoli & Evangelistate Apocoalypsin Commentari, (Lugduni, 1593)]. The object being to set aside the Protestant teachings that the Papacy is the antichrist. [Ribera's writings are still found in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, England.] In his commentary, he assigns the first chapters of Revelation to the first century. The rest he restricted to a literal three and a half years at the end of time. He taught that the Jewish temple would be rebuilt by a single individual antichrist who would abolish the Christian religion, deny Christ, pretend to be God, and conquer the world.

Does this sound familiar? Have we heard these scenarios all too often taught in Protestant churches? Did any of your teachers ever tell you who authored them? Even secular historians record the tactics of Counter-Reformation Rome. 'The Encyclopedia Britannica states, "Under the stress of the Protestant attack there arose new methods on the papal side: Ribera is identified as the founder of the futurist school of interpretation.

William E. Biederwolf, in his Bible commentary, comes to the following conclusion as to the origin of the futurist system:

This school was launched in 1580 [15851 by the Jesuit Ribera, who, as Guinness says, 'moved like Alcazar to relieve the Papacy from the terrible stigma cast upon it by the Protestant interpretation (the Historical School), tried to do so by referring these prophecies to the distant future, instead of like Alcazar to the distant past."

While editing Jonathan Edwards' Apocalyptic Writings, Stephen J. Stein commented

The polemical bent of Protestant exegetes produced an inevitable response from the Roman Catholic community Near the turn of the seventeenth century WO prominent Jesuits wrote commentaries offering different interpretations of the Revelation. Francisco filbert] contended that the prophecies of the Antichrist were still unfulfilled. The Antichrist was to be a Jewish deceiver of the world who would reign for three and a half years. BY contrast, Luis de Alcasar thought that the prophecies of the Apocalypse had already been fulfilled in the struggles of the early Church with Judaism and pagan's' The last two chapters of the Revelation, he said, tell of the triumph of the Roman Catholic Church.

I will emphasize a fundamental truth once more, the (unitive school of Bible prophecy v. as created for one reason, and me reason.: only: to counter the Protestant Reformation!

Ribera's primary apparatus was the seventy weeks. He taught that Daniel's 70th week was still in the future. He said that God had first given us 69 weeks and that at the baptism of Jesus in 27 A.D. the 69 weeks concluded. He said that God extended the 70th week into the future to take place at the end of the age. It was as though God put a giant rubber band on this Messianic time measure. Does this supposition sound familiar? This is exactly the scenario used by Hal Lindsey and a multitude of other current prophecy teachers.

Remember, Ribera was not alone in his efforts to war on the Protestant cause. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine eagerly accepted the challenge and entered into the arena. Woodrow presents a relevant biography of this man's contribution to the confusion:

The futurist teachings of Ribera were further popularized by an Italian cardinal and the most renowned of all Jesuit controversialists. His writings claimed that Paul, Daniel and John had nothing whatsoever to say about the Papal power. The futurists' school won general acceptance among Catholics. They were taught that antichrist was a single individual who would not rule until the very end of time. But this effort to sidetrack the teachings that the Papacy is the antichrist failed to hold back the advancing tide of Protestant truth—at least for a while.

Let me acid that Bellarmine followed very closely the teachings of Ribera. However, Ribera only partially attacked the year-for-a-day principle, whereas Bellarmine declared absolute war against it. The systematic theology of interpreting Divine time measures a day for a year, when the text dictates, has been almost entirely lost to the Protestant church. However, the hypocrisy of the matter is manifest continually in the futurist school. They are forced to acknowledge this principle of interpretation with the seventy weeks, but with other Divine time measures (i.e., the Book of Revelation) they reject this great principle and try to teach that they are to be interpreted as literal days! By what authority do they do this? Ribera's, not God's!

The Bible has several Divine time measures incorporated in the prophetic utterances. Why aren't these time measures broken and ;epara from their contexts? Why do the futurists only take this liberty with the seventy weeks? I hope by now you are beginning to understand why. It's an infusion of error that futurist teachers can't explain. Why do they try to tell us that God broke the seventy weeks? We must examine this if we are to be honest with ourselves and God. I will substantiate that God never broke this great prophecy; man altered it in his mind. Satan would deceive us all and rob us of our understanding of destiny!

The prophecy of the seventy weeks is the foundation stone for futurism and dispensationalism. These interpretations must have their seven-year period at the end of time. Remember, this is the last week of the 490-year prophetic clock. All futurist scenarios revolve around Ribera's "seven-year tribulation period." This erroneous presumption will be shattered as we proceed. Truth will triumph!

It is systematic teaching that will usher in the return to the true historical interpretation and fulfillment of the vision. (The implications of this will be self-evident and discussed in relation to the Kingdom and the restoration of truth within its walls.) The proper date and decree that signaled the start of the time measure must be established. The seventy weeks began in 457 B.C., and conclude,. in entirety, in 34 A.D. God's Word gives us an unmistakably clear signal as o when this period was to initiate and to culminate. The apostles knew they were to restrict their movements until that time span ran its course. This was necessary because of its exclusive application to the Jews. Further, it will be seen that the stoning of Stephen was not the end of this measure; God gave us a much mole accurate indication.

However, on the other end of the prophetic spectrum, our third Jesuit must be addressed Luis de Alcazar attempted to divert silo Protestant attacks by pointing fifteen centuries into the pas, and planting antichrist there.

Alcazar wrote on the Ribera school of thought. His book was entitled, Vestigatio Arcani Sensus In Apocalypsi, published Antwerp, 1614. He launched the praeterist (often spelled "preterist") school of apocalyptic interpretation. The preterists consider the majority of the prophecies in the Book of Revelation to have been fulfilled in the downfall of the Jewish nation in 70 A.D. Most advocates of this system date John's writing of the Revelation prior to 68 A.D. Nero, they claim, was the Antichrist. This interpretation, in my opinion, is easily discredited. The preterists find themselves in the same contradictions as the futurists. The systematic theology of the year-day principle in Bible prophecy thwarts their schemes. By what authority do preterists say that Revelation's divine time measures are interpreted a day for a day? Like the entirety of the futurist camp, they turn around and say that the seventy weelcs are to be interpreted as years. An immense contradiction!

Alcazar's main thrust, like that of Ribera and Bellarmine before him, was to protect the papacy. His admiration for the "Vicar of Christ" is clearly stated:

That Rome of old, head of Pagan idolatry, by an admirable vicissitude [change of circumstances] was to be changed into the metropolis of the Catholic Church; that the Roman Church was gloriously to triumph both in respect of the Roman city and the whole empire; and that the sovereign authority of the Romish Pope should always remain in the height of honour

Elliott sharply rebuked the preterist teaching by referencing the understanding of Irenaeus, the grand pupil of the Apostle John:

On the contrary, the early testimony of Irenaeus, disciple to Polycarp, who was himself a disciple to St John, indicates a then totally different view of the Apocalyptic Beast ... As if the only one ever known to have been received: a view referring it, not to any previous persecution by Nero and the Roman Empire under him, but to an Antichrist even then future; one that was to arise and persecute the church NOT till the breaking up, and reconstruction in another form, of the old Empire.

Alcazar's Antichrist Church Age Ribera's Antichrist
PAST ? FUTURE

 

In concluding the Jesuit infusion, Ecclesiastes warns in a proverb that, "a threefold cord is not quickly broken." The threefold cord of the Jesuit writers has done its damage. The extent of confusion is almost unbelievable. I have often wondered how such great Protestant ministers could be so deceived. That question is left to the judgments of the heart—God's realm. The fruit, however, is what we must test. Thankfully, the historical chronology of Protestant responsibility is traceable and verifiable. It begins in 1826, with a man named Samuel Roffey Maitland.

Notice to Readers

In an attempt to provide a wide range of opinions and applications within the bounds of the Historicist interpretation of Bible prophecy, we have utilized the research and writings of a variety of scholars and historians. Being that the material found on this website has been written over a period of several hundred years, there will naturally be a difference of opinions and interpretations on various prophecies. This is due to the experience and knowledge along with the political and religious conditions which existed during the life time of each respective writer. For example; the perspective of John Wycliffe of the 14th century in England as opposed to the perspective of a 21st century writer in North America may somewhat differ on the same prophecy due to their respective vantage points of time, location and development of historical events.

These differences by no means invalidate the truthfulness of the Historicist approach to the all-important subject of Bible prophecy. Even though some teachers and writers may differ on some major beliefs such as the rapture, the nature of the Second Coming of Christ, the identification of Israel, or the modern Zionist state of Israeli, each writer sets forth a traditional Protestant view of Bible prophecy that has been unfolding in fulfillment throughout time extending from the Apostolic age until our present age.

Every opinion and/or interpretation presented on this website may not necessarily be the accepted belief of those who have made this website available.