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The Reformation Herald Online Edition

One Truth, Many Lies

Prophetic Faith—Genetically Modified!
Liviu Tudoroiu

Dear friends, we are living in a world that has gone “modified.” The great “GMO” reshapes the face of almost every product that our body needs to host. Nothing of natural occurrence can match the standards of the “new normal.”

We as humans have proven over and over again that in our blind pride, we cannot seem to adequately acknowledge our limitations, nor recognize God as our Creator and Designer.

There are things we can change—and there are things we cannot. Sure, progressivist science can modify the world which they never created, rejecting the Designer and the obvious principles of His creation. But with what result, or what consequences? Too often we recognize our wrong decisions—usually when it is too late.

Ever since GMO foods forced humanity into a corner, an explosion of allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases have occurred at every age and level of society. The progressivist movement keeps denying the Creator, while science modifies what can never be created—for example, a tiny little wheat seed. From the spiritual perspective, any abbreviation from the original intent is a faith that has been genetic modified spiritually—a “GMS.” It is as if you have the right answer but a wrong application.

How does this apply to prophecy?

The Old Testament treasured the most beautiful prophecies about the first and the second advent of Jesus Christ. Prophets animated by the Holy Spirt saw these scenes in vision and rejoiced. The “Messiah” was the hope of Israel. But gradual separation from God led them to become self-sufficient and to read the Scripture without the guidance of the Lord. Oftentimes, prophecies were twisted to feed their national pride. Such is the case about the first advent of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The priests and rabbis were handling the location of the Messiah’s birth pretty well. The question that shook Jerusalem actually came from outside Israel: “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2).

“Where is he?” That may have sounded like a secret birth for most of the Jews, but why? Not because the prophecy was not there to be studied, not because the Lord was not willing to reveal to them the correct understanding of the first advent of Jesus—but because pride made them twist the interpretation and the nature of the events concerning the first and the second coming of Jesus.

In their national hatred against the Romans, the religious leaders started to invent some changes in regard to the first advent of the Lord Jesus. They took the glory of His second coming and by a forced interpretation, applied it to the birth of Christ. They didn’t want a secret birthsecret rapture, they wanted a . This was the beginning of the end of their nation. They modified the “genetics” of biblical prophecy. At nearly every major national event, the priests and rabbis would repeat the prophecies of the second coming as a form of retaliation against the Romans. The propagation of such counterfeit theology caused the Hebrew nation to reject the Saviour. The rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ had nothing to do with His spotless character or His flawless integrity; it was simply an outburst of fury against the One who unmasked their own hypocrisy and departure from God.

“In this our day, as in Christ’s day, there will be a misreading and misinterpreting of the Scriptures. If the Jews had studied the Scriptures with earnest, prayerful, humble hearts, their searching would have been rewarded with a true knowledge of the time, and not only the time, but also the manner of Christ’s first appearing. They would not have ascribed the glories of the second appearing of Christ to His first advent. 1

Had Jesus come with the display of power and majesty, showing His blood affiliation with the suffering nation, showing open resentment and frustration toward the cruel Roman injustice, the Jewish nation would have had a different history. Unfortunately, God did not have any intention of changing the terms and conditions of His salvation. Our Heavenly Father could not negotiate with the pride of IsraelI abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces since for many centuries He said, “The Lord God hath sworn by himself, saith the Lord the God of hosts, : therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein” (Amos 6:8).

The same mistake was repeated by the Christians in later centuries. As the Jews rejected Christ because of His original approach toward the moral law, so the Christians rejected the law in the name of Jesus.

“[The Jews] were so blinded that they knew not the time of His visitation, or what they were doing. Thus they were fulfilling the Scripture.

“Many are doing the same thing today ... because they have not had experience in the testing message comprehended in the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There are those who are searching the Scriptures for proof that these messages are still in the future . They gather together the truthfulness of the messages, but they fail to give them their proper place in prophetic history.”2

As Caiaphas refused to acknowledge Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and as his High Priest, so the papacy refused Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the church and the Saviour of the world.

In the time of the Reformation, there was a lot of heat going on in the political and theological world. More and more Bible readers and intellectuals unveiled the papal system as the fulfilling of the prophecy regarding the despotism known as the antichrist. The book of Daniel and Revelation were two powerful tools to be contested by the papal system. But the Roman Church eventually came to the conclusion that it would not be able to ban or burn all the Bibles, “heretical” books, and “heretics” that possessed or preached from them. Such an oppressive and cruel tactic merely confirmedRome’s identification as the harlot persecuting the church of prophecy. So, a new and more subtle approach was needed in order to effectively counter the clear application of apocalyptic prophecy to the Roman hierarchy.

A new interpretation would have to be found that deflected attention away from the 12th-century papal rule of the Middle Ages that had fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 7:25, that the little horn power would think to change the prophetic set times of the most High, just like king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had thought to change the prophetic vision of the statue of the man in Daniel chapter 2, by building a solid-gold statue in chapter 3. The little horn, the mystery Babylon, would in like manner try to deny and obscure the meaning of prophecy.

Two crafty alternatives

A fiendishly clever mind that came to the forefront with this new modification of the genetics of the prophecy was Francisco Ribera (1537–1591). He was a Jesuit doctor of theology, born in Spain, who began writing a lengthy commentary in 1585 on the book of Revelation (Apocalypse) entitled In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij , published around the year 1590. In order to remove the Roman Church from consideration as the antichrist power, he proposed that the first few chapters of the Apocalypse be applied to ancient pagan Rome, and the rest he limited to a yet future period of 3½? literal years, immediately prior to the second coming. During that time, the Roman Church would have fallen away from the pope into apostasy. He then theorized that the antichrist, a singleindividual, would: Persecute and blaspheme the saints of God, rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, abolish the Christian religion, deny Jesus Christ, be received by the Jews, pretend to be God, kill the two witnesses of God and finally conquer the world. So, according to Ribera, the 1260 days/42 months/3½? times of prophecy were not 1260 years (as Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6 and history have proven) but rather a literal3½? years. Under Ribera’s false interpretation, noneof the book of Revelation supposedly had any application to the Middle Ages or the papacy, but rather was all thrown into the future, to a period immediately prior to the second coming, hence the name Futurism.

Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, one of the best-known Jesuit apologists, published a work between 1581 and 1593 entitled Disputationum Roberti Bellarmini De Controversiis Christian Fidei Adversus Hujus Temporis Haereticos, (Polemic Lectures Concerning the Disputed Points of the Christian Belief Against the Heretics of This Time), in which he also denied the day = year principle in prophecy and pushed the reign of the antichrist into a future period of 3½? literal years.3

Manuel De Lacunza (1731–1801), a Jesuit from Chile, wrote a manuscript in Spanish titled La Venida del Mesias en Gloria y Magestad (“The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty”), under the pen name of Juan Josafa [Rabbi] Ben-Ezra about 1791. Lacunza wrote under an assumed Jewish name to obscure the fact that he was a Catholic, in order to give his book better acceptance in Protestantism, his intended audience. Also an advocate of Futurism, Lacunza was deliberately attempting to take the pressure off the papacy by proposing that the antichrist was still way in the future. His manuscript was published in London, Spain, Mexico, and Paris between 1811 and 1826.4

Edward Irving (1792–1834), a Scottish Presbyterian and forerunner of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, translated Lacunza’s work from Spanish into English in a book entitled The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty , with a Preliminary Discoursepublished in London in 1827 by L.B. Seeley & Son, which included Irving’s own lengthy preface. Here are excerpts from Irving’s translation:

“That there shall be an Antichrist; that he shall be revealed, and publicly declared, towards the last times; and that he shall commit in the world the greatest evils, making formal war against Christ, and all that pertains to him.”5

Lacunza taught that the antichrist power would not be just one man, yet he did identify the harlot woman riding the beast in Revelation 17 as referring to Rome:

“The doctors do all agree, that the woman here spoken of is the city of Rome, in other times the capital of the greatest empire in the world, and now the capital and centre of unity of the true Christian church.”6

“It is not present Rome which is at all spoken of here, but future Rome alone to which the prophecy hath its determinate application.”7

Rome yes, Lacunza agrees, but notthe Roman Catholic Church of his day, which he called the true church. Instead, he pushed this prophecy in Revelation 17 off into the future.8 He claimed that this apostate Christian group termed Antichrist would be: “slain and destroyed by Christ himself in the great day of his coming in glory and majesty.”9

The result: A heap of confusion

So, we see here that at the FIRST coming of Christ (the discreet arrival of baby Jesus in Bethlehem was applied to the SECOND COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRISTSuch theological gymnastics can be nicknamed spiritual genetical modification) wastaken by the 16th-century Counter-Reformation theologians and in the clouds of heaven. . Why? Because it is misguiding the honest and sincere seeker of the truth to a wrong pattern of understanding the solemnity of Christ return.10

The prattle of Preterism

The first distorted counter-interpretation to the Historicism of the Protestants was proposed by the Spanish Jesuit Luis De Alcazar (1554–1613). He penned a commentary named Investigation of the Hidden Sense of the Apocalypse, around 900 pages long. There he proposed that allof Revelation applied to the era of pagan Rome and the first six centuries of Christianity. According to Alcazar (or Alcasar):

Revelation chapters 1-–11 describes the rejection of the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Revelation chapters 12–19 were the overthrow of Roman paganism (the great harlot) and the conversion of the empire to the church.

Revelation 20 describes the final persecutions by Antichristas CaesarNero , who is identified (a.d. 54–68) and judgment. Revelation chapters 21–22 describe the triumph of the New Jerusalem, the Roman Catholic Church.

Again, Alcazar found no application of prophecy to the Middle Ages or to the papacy. That his interpretation differed so greatly from that put forth by Francisco Ribera or Cardinal Bellarmine, mattered little. Catholicism, the supposedly divine and infallible interpreter of Scripture, was presenting two vastly different and quite incompatible interpretations of prophecy in a desperate effort to counter the claims of the Protestant reformers who upheld Scripture.

The folly of Futurism

As revealed above, the misleading Futuristsystem of prophetic interpretation came into being as the papacy again sought to hide from having been identified as the antichrist. This new, alternative system of interpretation was devised to counteract the light and confuse the issue.

It is unfortunate to see that those who hold and advocate the Futurist system these days are not even Catholics. They have simply fallen for the smokescreen. Now more than ever, just as in the time of the great Reformation, there is need for transparency in this.

In summary: Antichrist is moved either forward or backward in time

When children want to play hide-and-seek successfully, they usually hide in a different place than they were before. Typically, when anyone wants to hide or cover up something, they move it somewhere else, so it won’t be readily discovered.

Likewise, the intent of both Futurism and Preterism was to counter or offset the Protestant Historical interpretation, and present alternatives, no matter how implausible they might be.

Ribera’s Futurism hides the antichrist by moving it into a future 3½? literal years. Alcazar’s Preterism labels the antichrist as Nero. Both theories put Antichrist outside the Middle Ages and the Reformation period—the biblical timeframe clearly identified by Protestant Historicists as Antichrist’s reign of 1260 prophetic years.

The sad irony today is that the Futurist theory has now come to dominate Protestant teaching! In evangelical circles, you constantly hear about the soon-appearing of Antichrist, who will be unveiled in the last 3½? years of Daniel’s 70th week, when he supposedly declares himself to be God in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. That scenario, as you can now see, is directly traceable back to the pen of the Jesuit, Francisco Ribera.

Like the Jewish nation of old, Christianity has separated from daily devoutness, and by doing so, they have slid away from the truth. They have genetically modified the rhetoric of the prophecy in regard to the second advent, whereas the Jewish scholars of the apostles’ time “ascribed the glories of the second appearing of Christ to His first advent,” futurists today make the mistake of taking prophecies that were fulfilled long ago and apply them, with a twist, to anticipated events yet to be. The twist to make it all fit is the “secret rapture” theory.

The secret rapture theory is a modification of the doctrine of the literal, visible second coming of Christ. The theory hijacks the correct interpretation of the Antichrist-era of 1260 years from a.d. 538–1798 which period marked the tribulation of persecution and supremacy under the papal system.

The secret rapture theory twists the words of the apostle Paul, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the sons perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, KJV). “Falling away” is from the Greek word for “apostasy”—a departure from the truth. Those who advocate the secret rapture reinterpret this word to mean a departure or removal, not from the truth, but from this world! The 3½? prophetic days of Daniel 7 and Revelation 12 are interpreted as 3½? years of tribulation, commencing with the disappearing of the faithful from this earth. “Then shall two be in the field, the one taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:40). According to the theory, those left behind will experience 3½? years of tribulation during which time the Antichrist shall arise, be revealed, and then deceive all those left alive upon the earth. But Jesus is clear. Those left behind are dead. They are carcasses on the ground. Destroyed by the brightness of His coming, their bodies are left as food for the eagles (Luke 17:37).

It is very interesting that when one fundamental doctrine of the scripture is altered—“genetically modified”—in any way, it will eventually taint the purity of biblical faith, with the end-result being confusion, deception and death.

Reality check: The return of Christ as shown in Scripture

In contrast to all the confused notions, the actual second coming of Jesus will shake the world. (Psalm 50:3; Isaiah 13:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Revelation 1:7.) It will not be a secret rapture—it will be a glorious event that will stop the time and movements of celestial bodies. It will cause the entire planet and all that are in it to tremble.

“[Christ’s] coming surpasses in glory all that the eye has ever seen. Far exceeding anything the imagination has conceived will be His personal revelation in the clouds of heaven. Then there will be a perfect contrast to the humility which attended His first advent. Then He came as the Son of the infinite God, but His glory was concealed by the garb of humanity. Then He came without any worldly distinction of royalty, without any visible manifestation of glory; but at His second appearing He comes with His own glory and the glory of the Father and attended by the angelic host of heaven. In the place of that crown of thorns which marred His brow, He wears a crown within a crown. No longer is He clad with the garments of humility, with the old kingly robe placed upon Him by His mockers. No: He comes clad in a robe whiter than the whitest white. Upon His vesture and thigh, a name is inscribed, ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords.’ ”11

May the Lord Jesus give us clear understanding of this matter and help us discern the solemn times of the imminent return of our Saviour!

References:
1 The Upward Look, p. 368.
2 Ibid.
3 See LeRoy Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2, pp. 495–502.
4 La Venida del Mesias en Gloria y Magestad “The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty” online at the National Library of Chile (in Spanish).
5 Edward Irving: The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty with a Preliminary Discourse, Vol. 1, Part II, Phenomenon III, p. 195, par. 3.
6 Ibid., p.240.
7 Ibid., p.251.
8 Ibid., p.252.
9 Ibid.
10 10 In Heavenly Places, p. 357.
11 Chart: From Daniel and the Revelation: The Chart of Prophecy and Our Place In It, A Study of the Historical and Futurist Interpretation, by Joseph Tanner, published in London by Hodder and Stoughton, 1898, pp. 16, 17.