Historicism.com Introduction

From www.historicism.com by J. L. Haynes. ©Historicism.com 2002.

Our purpose for this web-site is to encourage people to study end-times prophecy in the Bible. Too many Christians have missed out on the blessing that comes from the study of this important subject because they are intimidated and confused by it. The subject of prophecy is extremely controversial. Many pastors and teachers of the Bible are less than eager to teach on the book of Revelation for this reason. Frankly, the science-fiction theories preached by many of today's Church leaders are largely to blame for this state of affairs. The historicist interpretation of prophecy is uniquely effective in driving Christians to study God's word for themselves. In this day and age when Evangelicals are losing the desire to think and study for themselves, historicism is emerging as an effective force energizing the Church toward evangelism, scholarship, creativity and holiness --loving God with heart, mind and soul.We add our efforts to those of a growing number of people witnessing prophetic truth on the Internet today.

The sun is setting on this age. Our Lord is returning, probably sooner than we think. Not only do Christians need the blessing and encouragement to be found in Bible prophecy, they also need to understand the warnings that it contains. One of the great purposes of Biblical prophecy is to spur Christians to faithfulness, and perseverance, in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with a world that, today, needs it more than ever. The world does not suspect how soon the Day of The Lord is coming.The sun is setting on a church that has fallen asleep. Jesus may return at any moment, maybe even tomorrow...

"...there are two purposes for predictive prophecy. The chief purpose is to affect the conduct of those who hear the prophecy. Another purpose is met only when the prophecy is fulfilled. That purpose is to build faith, to establish confidence in the God who miraculously foretold events (John 13:19; 14:29; 16:4)." (Understanding and Applying the Bible, p. 215, by J.Robertson McQuilken, Moody Press, Chicago, ILL, 1983)

"From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He." John 13:19

"Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe." John 14:29

"But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you." John 16:4

The aim of Biblical prophecy is not to arouse vain speculation about the future, but to authenticate the message of the prophets as the Word of God when what has been written comes to pass.  It leads the serious student of prophecy to the pivotal point in history upon which everything depends - the crucifixion of Christ as an atonement for sin without which all mankind would end in the lake of fire.  He died, the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God.  The final choice is with the individual - with you and me - as to whether we accept His sacrifice and become identified with Him in death and resurrection, or continue in our own way until it is too late to choose, and the only alternative is "the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death," (Rev. 21:8).

A.J.L. Haynes, Tomorrow: What do the Prophets Say?, 1977, p.53

Have we a hope thus full of glory, and does our hope draw nigh, yea very nigh? 'What manner of persons then ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness?' Ought we not to be persons filled with faith, even as the world is filled with scepticism? Ought we not to be moved with fear for the ungodly around us, and burning with earnest zeal for their salvation? If the day of Christ be so near, how should we be employing the brief remaining interval? Many a task which it might have been wise and well to undertake in the earlier days of the dispensation, would be sadly out of place now! This is no time for controversies about ecclesiastical organizations and abstruse questions of doctrine. To proclaim far and wide throughout the earth the everlasting Gospel before it is too late; to lay hold of men and women and pull them out of Sodom ere the fire from heaven fall; to cry aloud as regards Babylon, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues;" to spend and be spent in seeking to rescue the perishing, this is the work that becomes us. To warn the world that the sword of destruction is coming, to explain to men that the long-suffering of God is for salvation, and that it is nearly over, and to live as though we believed these things-- this is our plain duty.

Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, The Approaching End of The Age, 1878, p.588

The method of interpreting Bible prophecy that is called "historicism," has been almost forgotten. Since about the middle of the 19th century an opposing method called "futurism" has become the popular view.

On the following pages we will look at these two views in the light of the Bible. Try to put aside your preconceptions and let the Word of God speak clearly. It has been said that prophecy is history pre-written. If that is true then surely we can discover fulfilled prophecy in the records of history.

We will answer the questions,

But first, a "beginner's guide" to the subject of Bible prophecy...



An Introduction to Biblical Prophecy

Daniel 2:31-45

"You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome.

"The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.

"You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them.

"Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

"This was the dream; now we shall tell its interpretation before the king.

"You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength, and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.

"And after you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.

"Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces.

"And in that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle.

"And in that you saw iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.

"And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

"Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy." (NAS)

This remarkable vision foretold the history of the world's major powers from the time of the prophet Daniel (the sixth century, B.C.) until the return of the Lord Jesus to establish a Kingdom, one that "will never be destroyed," sometime in the near future.

These various sections of the statue represent the major-powers in the Middle-East, Asia-Minor, North Africa and Europe, over the last 2600+ years.

Nebuchadnezzar's Statue of Gentile Empires

Even the most skeptical of "experts" estimate the writing of Daniel to be around 400 years before Christ. It is impossible that Daniel could have foretold, by interpreting the vision, these major events in history unless he was divinely inspired. There is no question then whether or not this prophecy was inspired by God.

All prophecy in the Bible has, in effect, the same author: God. It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that God's various prophecies in the Bible ultimately fit together, like pieces of a puzzle, to form a harmonious "big-picture." If that is the case then one prophecy can best be understood by knowing its context-- approximately where it fits in the big-picture. This prophecy in Daniel chapter 2 provides a context for all of the following prophecies in the Bible dealing with the Antichrist, and the "last-days."

And now, "What is Futurism? What is Historicism? What does the Bible have to say?"

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