ANTICHRIST - WHY IS CURRENT PROPHECY TEACHING UNBIBLICAL? – PART 1
Before we can understand what the Bible teaches about the end times, it would be of value to look at a summary of the history of current popular interpretation so that we can understand its origin. How did this way of understanding the events surrounding the second coming of Jesus come about? Has this any bearing on the accuracy of this interpretation?
“The papacy suffered a major setback through the Reformation. The help of the monastic orders was sought, but they were so decadent that they had lost the respect of the people. The Dominicans and Franciscans, peddling relics and indulgences, had become the butt of ridicule and mockery.
At this crisis Loyola and his companions offered their services, to go wherever the pope should designate, as preachers, missionaries, teachers, counselors, and reformers. A new order was created, authorized in 1540, which infused a new spirit and spread rapidly in Europe. Like a wounded giant, Romanism arose in desperation to recover her lost prestige and shrunken territory.” (1)
This movement grew in power and influence across Europe. Its representatives preached in streets and market places like the Protestants did and thousands flocked to hear them. They became eloquent preachers. They were among the best teachers of the land and became entrenched in the universities of Europe. Even Protestants sent their children to them “because of the scholastic progress they could make.”
There was irreconcilable conflict between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. “The two systems stood forth in absolute and irreconcilable opposition at the Council of Trent, where the council expressly condemned what the Reformation taught.” (2)
“The Council of Trent — beginning in 1545 under Paul III and ending in 1563 under Pius IV—crystallized its actions into decrees that became permanent law of the Catholic Church. Reformation truths were there rejected and stigmatized as pestilential heresy. In one sense Trent became the culmination of the Counter-Reformation. It was Rome’s definitive answer to the Reformation.” (3)
For a time after the Reformation, Catholic leadership, mindful of the Reformer’s views of the papacy as Antichrist, avoided preaching on the books of Daniel and Revelation. They were not ready to take on the Reformers damning interpretation of Antichrist which was undermining the foundation of the papacy and the Catholic Church. The Reformers, through pulpit and pen, were forcefully proclaiming that the papacy was the Antichrist of prophecy. Their influence was so great that Rome had to counter attack or lose the battle.
“From the ranks of the Jesuits two stalwarts arose, determined to lift the stigma from the Papacy by locating Antichrist at some point where he could not be applied to the Roman church. It was clearly a crisis of major proportions.” (4)
(Quotes 1-4 taken from the website http://gospel-herald.com/futurism_history.htm, (captured 01/10/2102), (LeRoy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic faith of Our Fathers, The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation, Vol. 2, Review and Herald, Washington, D.C., 1948, excerpted, pp. 464-532.)