Week 13 Continuous Historicist

Below are the overheads from week 12 on the Continuous Historicist model.





Week 12 Continuous Historism

Pondering what musical theme to add to Historicism since it is the last of the models we are studying I first thought something many people consider a moving piece would be good to enjoy and contemplate the aspects of the Historicism model. Vangelis’ Hymne came to mind or maybe John Barry’s sublime High Road to China score.

However while digging for more info on the Historicist model it became increasing clear that some adherents of Historicism want to lay claim to every Protestant from Martin Luther to the present day if they are not extremely dispensational or preterist in their eschatological views.

Beyond a certain point I kept hearing an echo from Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning’s assessment of the World War II battle in the Netherlands and the failure of British forces to take the bridge at Arnhem “Well as you know I always thought we tried to go a bridge too far.”

John Addison did such a great job scoring the soundtrack for the movie A Bridge too Far that the overture seemed like a fitting piece to be our theme music for Historicism. So with no further ado here is the Overture from A Bridge too Far.

Now with that important bit of business done let’s try to dissect and understand Historicism.

It’s necessary to place the Historicist model at the end of our study course because you need a working knowledge of the others to grasp it.

Historicism holds that the prophetic books (especially Revelation and Daniel) outline the history of the Church between Christ’s first and second Advents.

Historicism allows for a range of beliefs and can follow a broad outline similar to Premillennialism, Postmillennialism, or Amillennialism which makes it hard mentally to wrap your mind around it and let alone outline it. I’ve gone with a very simple outline of it here that looks more like the Amillennial model, but if I had to do it again I’d think about creating another square of dotted lines indicating that you could have a millennial period which most often is similar to Premillennialism. Historicism is usually considered at odds with either Preterism or Dispensationalism.

Still, Historicism maps the prophecies of the bible to actual events in history from the time of the Apostle John forward so while it would not allow for the Second Coming of Christ in 70 AD it would allow matching up prophecies in Daniel and Revelation to events that took place in 70 AD when the Romans marched on Jerusalem. Historicism could see Nero as the fulfillment of the little horn of Daniel 7 and it could apply that same prophecy to other figures in history.

Historicism maintains that prophetic fulfillment occurs all through the church age and that you can have a layering of actual and spiritual fulfillment. It allows for more than one fulfillment of the same prophecy.

So you can see why it is necessary to have a good understanding of the other models before trying to take on Historicism.

If I could apply the term “classic” to Historicism it would focus on the Protestant Reformation period probably through the Puritans. But there are people in the Historicist camp who argue it includes everyone from Luther to the present and into the future who are not extremely Preterist or Dispensationalist.

To some with a more limited scope for Historicism its main focus would be associated with the Protestant reformers starting in the 1500s. This school of thought focuses on the Protestant-Catholic conflicts of the Reformation period. It sees fulfillment of prophecies about the Beast, Antichrist, man of sin, and whore of Babylon as being associated with the Pope and the Catholic Church. This view sees the world much as the early Protestants saw themselves being persecuted by the Catholic Church. Remember the Geneva Bible contained study notes that referred to the Pope as the Antichrist. In this strain of Historicism, Catholicism down through subsequent ages is usually associated with the beast and Antichrist prophecies.

A number of Historicists also maintain that the smoke rising from the abyss and the locusts representing the rise and spread of Islam.

Some Historicists see the seven churches addressed in Revelation are symbolic of different phases of Christianity from the time of John till the Second Coming of Christ.

The two witnesses of Revelation could be the Old and New Testaments.

To some Historicism’s truest and most basic focus is the beliefs of the Protestant reformers and their struggles with Catholicism and here Historicism fits into a premillennial model of eschatology. Remember when Protestants begin leaving the Catholic church they usually moved to a Premillennial view of eschatology as opposed to the Amillennial model held by the Catholic church.

Others argue that pretty much everyone not Preterist or Dispensationalist are Historicist since they would see biblical prophecies being fulfilled as time moves along to the Second Coming. To me this seems like over reaching on behalf or Historicism. In the minds of Pre, Post, and A-millennalists they are in distinctly different camps with different beliefs and to try superimpose a system on them that blurs their distinctions through the unfolding of historical events tries to make Historicism do something it was not intended to do. This looks a lot like a desperate maneuver to claim adherents to the philosophy of Historicism.

Historicism is Associated with the Seventh Day Adventists Church

William Miller (1782-1849) predicted the Second Coming in 1844 and even though his prediction proved wrong some of his followers evolved into Adventist Churches with the most successful being the Seventh Day Adventists. Miller also influenced other groups including what would become the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Eschatological beliefs of 7th Day Adventists:

Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary

Second Coming of Christ

Death and Resurrection

Millennium and the End of Sin

New Earth


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