Peeking over the fence at Dispensaitonalism I found a few quotes worth mentioning by former pop Dispy writer Clarence Larkin.
The “Historical School, ” sometimes spoken of as the “Presentist” scheme, 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 this 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.
From Wiki: Prophetic commentaries in the early church were often partial or incomplete, usually interpreting individual passages rather than entire books. The earliest complete commentary on the Book of Revelation, considered to be one of the earliest Historicist commentators, was carried out by Victorinus of Pettau around 300 AD. An overview of the various prophetic expositions from the third century to the fifth centuries demonstrates that prophecies were uniformly interpreted within a Historicist framework by the Latin (later Catholic) writers.
Looking to the future fulfillment of certain prophetic passages, Christian theologians concluded that the events of Biblical prophecy (especially as contained in the books of Daniel and Revelation) encompassed the entire Church Age from the Ascension of Jesus to his Second Coming.
Throughout the medieval era the Historicist interpretation became increasingly modified and developed by the expositions of Andreas, Primasius (both 6th century), Bede (730 AD), Anspert, Arethas, Haymo, and Berengaud (all of the ninth century). [end quote]
As you can see the church has, at least historically speaking, used Historicism. Larkin was mistaken.
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.
Good to see this false view (in Larkin’s opinion) “was the secret of the martyr heroism” during the Reformation. Also, E. B. Elliott’s work was mentioned, I wish someone would reprint it already! Isn’t there an SDA publisher out there willing to produce a few thousand copies for us? Larkin goes on to explain futurism.
This view, while it dates in modern times only from the close of the Sixteenth Century
…wait for it…
, is really the most ancient of the three.
That’s right folks. Although futurism is modern it really is older…?
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 that among Protestants.
To sum up; the system created by the Jesuit theologian Francisco Ribera (1537–1591) to “rid the Papacy of the stigma of being called the Antichrist” was modern BUT really ancient and only recently (the last 150 years give or take) has been “wonderfully revived” by Protestants…because, after all, it’s DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH!