“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people…” (Rev. 18:4)
by Shaun Willcock
(From the Introduction at the beginning of Part One)
Many Christians and Christian churches have retained various trappings of Popery, either out of ignorance, or because they view them as mere trifling matters, or because they simply cannot bear to part with them. Christian man, Christian woman: you ought never to play the part of ungodly Achan, hiding any “goodly Babylonish garment” in the midst of your tent (Jos. 7:21)! The embellishments of Popery should never be retained by those who, by sovereign grace, have clean escaped the clutches of the mystical harlot. Rev. 18:4 says that the Lord’s people must fully “come out” of Popery; but alas! many flee from this “Babylon” like Rachel fleeing from her father’s house – with her father’s gods hidden amongst her possessions (Gen. 31:19,34,35).
We must examine these trappings of Popery. Come out – truly out – of Babylon, have nothing to do with the harlot or her ways!
There are, essentially, three main systems of biblical prophetic interpretation:
1. The Historicist system. This system of prophetical interpretation holds the prophecies of Daniel, Revelation, and elsewhere, to be “history divinely written beforehand”. In other words, history fulfils Bible prophecy. History is but the outworking, in time, of divine prophecy. The Lord, in His prophetic Word, told His Church beforehand what would come to pass in time. The book of Revelation, in particular, describes events which have occurred from the beginning of the Christian era until now, and which will yet occur until the second coming of Christ and the judgment day.
2. The Praeterist system. According to the advocates of this system, all the prophecies relating to the second coming of Christ, etc., were fulfilled in the first century AD.
3. The Futurist system. According to the advocates of this system, the prophecies of Revelation, etc., are still to be fulfilled at some unknown point in the future, and all within the space of a very short time, consisting of just a few years.
The most popularised, and probably the most popular, system of prophetic interpretation today is the Futurist system. But this was not always so. For centuries, the vast majority of Protestants were committed to the Historicist system.
So what happened to bring about this huge shift? In a word: Jesuitism! Protestants today have swallowed this Popish, Jesuit trapping of Futurism, hook, line, and sinker: a prophetic interpretation that was designed by the Jesuits of Rome to deflect the Protestant world away from the Historicist interpretation of Bible prophecy!
Let us see how this was accomplished. Of necessity this can only be a very brief examination of this subject.