Historicism Research Foundation (HRF) exists to study and promote the cause of postmillennial historicism. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee was HRF’s founding advisor.
Historicism is characterized by the following unique concepts :
• The “Year-Day” principle – In prophetic language, a day of symbolic time represents a year of actual, historic time.
• The “Time, Times and Half a time,” “3 1/2 years,” “1260 days”, and “42 month” time period, which occurs seven times in Daniel and Revelation, is understood by Historicists to be fulfilled in history.
• All Historicists believe that the Papacy is that Anti-Christ, the Man of Sin of II Thessalonians 2, and a Beast of Revelation 13.
• Historicists generally agree Revelation 9 speaks of the Muslim scourge which afflicted Christendom.
• All Historicists agree that the book of Revelation prophesies the history of the Church from the Apostolic Era to the future Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Historicism was the predominant Protestant interpretation of scriptural prophecy of the Protestant Reformation, and one finds it expressed in most of the Protestant confessions of that era.
Historicistic postmillennialism is the view anticipating a future period of gospel blessing and prosperity before the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, ushered in by the conversion of many Jews to the Biblical Christian religion, and also accompanied by the extirpation of Popery and Romanism, as well as Islam, by means of the Holy Spirit working through the word of God. Some postmillennialists, like Rev. à Brakel, believe this period of gospel prosperity will be a literal thousand year period, but many other postmillennialists are uncertain as to the period’s duration. So as the term is used by Historicism Research Foundation, the necessity of such a literal thousand year period is not intended. Rather, the Historicism Research Foundation uses the term to express an indefinite period of such gospel blessing, that may be considerably shorter in actual duration than a literal thousand years, or that may be a literal one thousand years as Rev. à Brakel believed. The Historicism Research Foundation’s use of the term postmillennialism simply expresses the Puritan hope that is found and conveyed in these words from the Westminster Larger Catechism:
“A. In the second petition, (which is, Thy kingdom come,) acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel-officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate: that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever: and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.”
It should be noted here that the Westminster Larger Catechism looks forward to a future conversion of significant numbers of Jews to Biblical Christianity, and a period of gospel blessing and prosperity, but lacking dogmatic certainty as to its actual time duration. The Heidelberg Catechism also suggests this hope of a greater reformation anticipating the Second Advent, in its treatment of the petition to the Lord’s Prayer.
The Belgic Confession too seems to suggest a hope in future gospel blessing, with particular reference to an extirpation of Popery (which the Belgic Confession’s term “the kingdom of antichrist” refers to), in its Article 36:
“For this purpose He hath invested the magistracy with the sword, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. And their office is not only to have regard unto and watch for the welfare of the civil state, but also that they protect the sacred ministry, and thus may remove and prevent all idolatry and false worship, that the kingdom of antichrist may be thus destroyed and the kingdom of Christ promoted. They must, therefore, countenance the preaching of the word of the gospel everywhere, that God may be honored and worshipped by every one, as He commands in His Word.”
As Dr. Francis Nigel Lee documented in his book The Sixth Point of Calvinism: Escato-Ethics, which is available free on-line here, the Dordt Dutch Bible with its marginal notes (Staten Bijbel) enjoins and provides hope for the “Christian conquest of the cosmos”, including the defeat of Romanism, Islam, and every other enemy of Jesus Christ.
This optimistic postmillennial view, however, has no illusions about the difficulties that would await the church before she would enjoy her millennial restoration, as well as the tribulations that would attend reformation. As Rev. à Brakel noted in his commentary on the Revelation: “And who knows what she will still have to suffer, and how she will still be reduced, before she will come to a glorious and peaceful state? For this reason the church, from the time of the Reformation, until the thousand-year reign, the church has not had any peace, nor will have. Yet she will remain public, fight against the Antichrist, and shall ultimately conquer him.” This has indeed been the case, for the Protestant Christian church has largely been unfaithful to God. Rather than calling Roman Catholics and others to repentance by an example of godliness and testimony, as Protestant Christians we have largely succumbed to spiritual declension ourselves, and have engaged in religious and political alliance with Rome.
Below are HRF resources available: