The Catholic Counter Reformation – Futurism
Up to this point, Rome’s main method of attack had been largely frontal: openly burning Bibles and heretics. Yet this warfare only confirmed in the minds of Protestants the conviction that papal Rome was indeed the Beast power that would “make war with the saints” (Revelation 13:7). Therefore a new tactic was needed, something less obvious. The sought after solution was found in the Jesuit Order.
Eleven years earlier, on August 15, 1534, Ignatius Loyola founded a secret Catholic order called the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits.
At the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church gave the Jesuits the specific assignment of bringing Protestantism back to the “Mother Church.” This was to be done not only through the Inquisition and through torture, but also through theology and deception.
Two Jesuits named Francisco de Ribera and Robert Bellarmine invented the system called FUTURISM.
Futurism places the coming of Antichrist just 7 years before the end of time.
The Christians were hindering his coming, and they will be raptured out before his appearance.
Like Martin Luther, Francisco Ribera also read by candlelight the prophecies about the Antichrist, the little horn, the man of sin, and the beast of Revelation.
He then developed the doctrine of futurism. His explanation was that the prophecies apply only to a single sinister man who will arise up at the end of time. Rome quickly adopted this viewpoint as the Church’s official position on the Antichrist.
In 1590 Ribera published a commentary on the Revelation as a counter interpretation to the prevailing view among Protestants which identified the Papacy with the Antichrist. Ribera applied all of Revelation to the end time rather than to the history of the church. Antichrist, he taught, would be a single evil person who would be received by the Jews and who would rebuild Jerusalem.
Ribera denied the Protestant Scriptural Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2) as seated in the church of God-asserted by Augustine, Jerome, Luther, and many reformers. He set on an infidel Antichrist, outside the church of God.
The result of [Ribera’s] work was a twisting and maligning of prophetic truth.
Following close behind Francisco Ribera was another brilliant Jesuit scholar, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine of Rome. Between 1581-1593, Cardinal Bellarmine agreed with Ribera in his work Polemic Lectures Concerning the Disputed points of the Christian Belief Against the Heretics of this Time.
The futurist teachings of Ribera were further popularized by an Italian cardinal and the most renowned Jesuit controversialists. His writings claimed that Paul, Daniel, and John had nothing whatsoever to say about the Papal power. The futurists’ school won general acceptance among Catholics. They were taught that antichrist was a single individual who would not rule until the very end of time.