The theology of Ribera, by Larkin’s own admission.
After thirty years of work, the late Clarence Larkin (1850 – 1924, an American Baptist Pastor) published a work which many in the Futurist School of eschatology refer to as “the dispensationalists’ second bible” and “a standard authority on dispensationalism.” The book is entitled Dispensational Truth. It is touted by some as the greatest book on bible prophecy in the world! It contains over 115 charts, maps and woodcuts. These are referenced today by a myriad of prophecy teachers. But, I wonder how many of these so-called teachers have read Larkin’s admission of cartooning Francisco Ribera’s catholic counter-reformation prophetic interpretation. This article is not an explanation of the errors of dispensationalism. Space does not allow for a proper refutation of the Futurist School or a defense of the Protestant Historical School (Historicism). It will simply be, for the most part, the words of Larkin himself. These are found on page 5 of his book, Forty-Sixth Printing. Some of the other printings have it on page 4. “The glory of a good thing is that it flows to others” Martin Luther. Conversely, the horror of a bad thing is that it not only flows but, at times, floods and drowns. How many, today, are drowning in the tide of dispensational teachings? The book Dispensational Truth furthered the rushing current of futuristic eschatology - Rome’s poisonous waters! Now, let us read Larkin’s affirmation of the Jesuit origins of Preterism and Futurism. He also identifies the “secret of the martyr heroism,” known as Historicism. I have added bold emphasis where I felt appropriate.
The “Preterist School” originated with the Jesuit Alcazar. His view was first put forth as a complete scheme in his work on the Apocalypse, published in A.D.1614. It limits the scope of the apocalypse to the events of the Apostle John’s life, and affirms that the whole prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and the subsequent fall of the persecuting Roman Empire, thus making the Emperor Nero the “Antichrist.” The purpose of the scheme was transparent, it was to relieve the Papal Church from the stigma of being called the “Harlot Church” and the Pope from being called the Antichrist…”
The “Historical School”. . . interprets the Apocalypse as a series of prophecies predicting the events that were to happen in the world and in the Church from John’s day to the end of time. The advocates of the School interpret the symbols of the Book of Revelation as referring to certain historical events that have and are happening in the world. They claim that “Antichrist” is a “System” rather than a “Person,” and is represented by the Harlot Church of Rome. They interpret the “Time Element” in the Book on the “Year Day Scale.” This school has had some very able and ingenious advocates. This view, like the preceding was unknown to the early church. It appeared about the middle of the Twelfth Century, and was systematized in the beginning of the Third Century by the Abbot Joachim. Subsequently it was adopted and applied to the Pope by the forerunners and leaders of the Reformation, and may be said to have reached its zenith in Mr. Elliott’s “Horae Apocalypticae.” It is frequently called the Protestant interpretation because it regards Popery as exhausting all that has been predicted of the Antichristian power. It was a powerful and formidable weapon in the hands of the leaders of the Reformation, and the conviction of its truthfulness nerved them to “love not their lives unto the death.” It was the secret of the martyr heroism of the Sixteenth Century.
The “Futurist School” interprets the language of the Apocalypse “literally,” except such symbols as are named as such and hold that the whole of the Book, from the end of the third chapter, is yet “future” and unfulfilled, and that the greater part of the Book, from the beginning of chapter six to the end of chapter nineteen, describes what shall come to pass during the last week of “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.” . . . In its present form it may be said to have originated at the end of the Sixteenth Century, with the Jesuit Ribera, who actuated by the same motive as the Jesuit Alcazar, sought to rid the Papacy of the stigma of being called the “Antichrist,” and so referred the prophecies of the Apocalypse to the distant future. This view was accepted by the Roman Catholic Church and was for a long time confined to it, but, strange to say, it has wonderfully revived since the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, and among Protestants. . . ., The “Futurist” interpretation of scripture is the one employed in this book.
Well, there you have it. Larkin is ecstatic because the rejected prophetic counter-scheme manipulations of the Jesuit Ribera have been “wonderfully revived.”
I have written a book entitled Seventy Weeks, The Historical Alternative. In this book, I address, in modest detail, much of the information presented by Larkin. If you want to know more about these schools of thought, I encourage you to read it. In summation, it is the story of the only Messianic Divine time-measure recorded in Holy Writ – Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. The truth of its interpretation begins with a journey back to the Protestant Reformation. It was during this period of Church history that this great prophecy’s commonly understood fulfillment was hermeneutically attacked and distorted. The confusing results of this theological assault are with us to this day. Clarence Larkin’s book Dispensational Truth is a classic example. He teaches that a seven-year tribulation period is yet to come.
What was this doctrinal assault’s ultimate purpose? Who first taught it? Larkin already told you – Ribera!
Why was this new interpretation of Daniel Chapter Nine rejected by scholastic Protestant clergy for centuries? Who were its authors trying to protect? Again, Larkin told you – the Papacy and its identified label - “Antichrist.”
In my book, you’ll have these and many more questions answered. After reading, you will never again, in good conscience, be able to teach the charts of Larkin.
I contend with no man’s person, only that which pertain to the words of truth. Seventy Weeks the Historical Alternative can be ordered from: