Petrus Romanus – Historicism Back to the Future Part 2

By Cris D. Putnam
While we lean strongly toward the futurist school, we acknowledge that there is merit to the historicist approach. It seems like a mistake to just dismiss centuries of scholarship with a hand wave. However, there are many criticisms. Biblical scholar, G.K. Beale, characterizes historicism in this way,

“Typically this view identifies parts of the Apocalypse as prophecies of the invasions of the Christianized Roman Empire by the Goths and the Muslims. Further, the corruptions of the medieval papacy, the reign of Charlemagne, the Protestant Reformation, and the destruction wrought by Napoleon and Hitler have been seen as predicted by John.”[i]

Another characteristic weakness is that it tends to be myopic by limiting symbols to the expositors own contemporary situation. Accordingly, when one compares historicist commentaries from different eras, they seldom agree with one another. While their speculations on the identity of the Antichrist have run the gamut from Nero through Muhammad to Napoleon, arguably, until very recently, the dominant opinion since the reformation has been the pope, albeit not a single pope rather the office of the papacy.

However, it seems to us that some of this criticism is not valid. We agree that it is a weakness that a historicist commentator will usually believe his own period is the final one. But that is a very real part of the tension, which is inherent for Christians living in the already/not yet paradigm. Though it is also a weakness that historicists seldom agree, the fact that these interpretations are divergent on many details makes the areas where they do converge even more compelling. It is inescapable that they all converge on Rome and the papacy.

An often-heard criticism from historicists is that modern evangelicals who hold a futurist or preterist view have been influenced by the Jesuit Counter Reformation effort to discredit the historicist view of the reformers. We believe there is some truth to this conspiracy because the Romanists have vested interest in protecting the papacy.  But a lot of the criticism we have read coming from historicists seems unfair. Truth be told, one could argue that historicism is also a Catholic invention. The dominant Catholic interpretation after Augustine’s City of God in the fifth century was allegorical. It was only after a mystic monk, Joachim of Fiore (1130–1202), introduced a chronological division based on three ages corresponding to the Trinity that the historical interpretation gained traction. So it really is not fair for historicists to charge everyone who disagrees with them as being influenced by Rome. Furthermore, it is a logical fallacy known as the genetic fallacy to deny the truth of a proposition based solely on its origin.[ii] The futurist interpretation is judged unfairly due to a few influential Jesuit advocates.

A Jesuit named Francisco Ribera published a Revelation commentary, In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij, advocating the futurist view in 1590. Another Jesuit, Laconza, wrote under the name Ben-Ezra teaching the premillennial advent and literal restoration of Israel. As a means of criticism, strict historicists trace this through to John Nelson Darby, the Moody Bible Institute, and the Scofield Reference Bible. In other words, they argue that nineteenth-century dispensationalists fell for a counter-reformation propaganda campaign. They claim that the teachings of the reformers have been suppressed, drowned in a sea of Jesuit propaganda, i.e., futurism. Yet, it seems that even for a Jesuit, the imagery of Revelation 17 is too persuasive to deny. In fact, the Jesuit, Lacunza, actually wrote:

Rome, not idolatrous but Christian, not the head of the Roman empire but the head of Christendom, and centre of unity of the true church of the living God, may very well, without ceasing from this dignity, at some time or other incur the guilt, and before God be held guilty of fornication with the kings of the earth, and amenable to all its consequences. And in this there is not any inconsistency, however much her defenders may shake the head. And this same Rome, in that same state, may receive upon herself the horrible chastisement spoken of in the prophecy.[iii]

We do find it very interesting that even these Jesuits identified papal Rome as the woman who rides the beast. Although acknowledging that Rome certainly has an interest in obfuscating the classic historicist view, we are not under Rome’s spell in holding futurist views. The futurist interpretation is based on sound exegesis and the historical grammatical hermeneutic.

For instance, the reason we do not agree that the papacy is the ultimate realization of 2 Thessalonians’ “man of Sin” is purely exegetical. “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 son of perdition” (2 Th 2:3). Paul was instructing his first-century readers that the judgment of God had not arrived because “the man” had not yet appeared. The Greek language is much more precise that English and the second declension noun, anthropos (man), is in the singular form. Paul’s teaching would be meaningless if he was referring to an institution lasting hundreds of years that had not yet appeared. For it to be helpful in identifying the day of the Lord he necessarily meant one man. Paul’s readers would have never understood it to mean the institution of the papacy. For them, it was very clearly an individual of whom it says the Lord “shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Th 2:8). This clearly speaks of one man who is present when Jesus returns. Thus, if one accurately accounts for grammar and context, this is necessarily an individual on the scene when Jesus returns. One should allow Paul’s intent be the guiding factor.

Another reason the historicist approach is not as widely known today is that it requires a great deal of study and knowledge of history. Take the massive eschatological study written by Edward Elliott in the nineteenth century called Horae Apocalypticae (“Hour of the Apocalypse”).[iv] At over 2,500 pages split into four volumes with copious footnotes, charts, and illustrations, Spurgeon called it “the standard work on the subject.”[v] Elliot argued Revelation was both the unrolling of a sealed scroll and the continuing drama of salvation history. He saw the first six seals as broken with the empire, decline, and fall of pagan Rome around AD 395. The six trumpets were various attacks by the Goths, Saracens, and Muslims with the Protestant Reformation ensuing at trumpet six. Because Daniel describes the Roman Empire, in terms of legs of iron (Dan 2:33), the split of Rome into Eastern and Western legs is evident in prophecy. He explained the two beasts of Revelation 17 in this way:

At the same time that in the particular symbolizations contained in this subsidiary Part of the Prophecy, viz. those of the ten-horned Beast itself, its chief minister the two-horned Beast, and the Image of the Beast—explained respectively of the Papal Empire, Papal Priesthood, and Papal Councils[vi]

A major component in Horae Apocalypticae and most historicist readings is that the 1260 days in Revelation 12 are years in which the Church is subjected to persecution by papal Rome. This is an area where nearly all historicists find agreement, but where they disagree is when the 1260 year-long period began. In fact, the death knell of Elliot’s gargantuan work of scholarship was that it set a date which came and went.  Unfortunately, Elliot placed the beginning of the 1260 years in AD 606 when the emperor Phocas rubberstamped Pope Boniface III’s claim for the primacy of Rome. We discuss this papal milestone in chapter 9 of Petrus Romanus, “Donation of Constantine and the Road to Hell.” Concerning this, Elliot wrote:

“At the same time that the fall and complete commencement of the period appeared on strong and peculiar historic evidence (especially that of the then risen ten diademed Romano-Gothic Papal horns) to have about synchronized with the epoch of Phocas’ decree A.D. 606; and the corresponding epoch of end with the year I866.”[vii]

Of course, 1866 came and went and the papacy under Pius IX even got bolder by claiming infallibility in 1870. However it is interesting in the same year, Napoleon’s advance led the Italian government to raid the Vatican and take the Papal States from the pope. However, the loss of temporal power was brief as Pius XI signed a pact with the fascist dictator Mussolini on February 11, 1929, restoring papal governing power to Vatican City. Even so, Elliot’s grand historical scheme was undone when 1866 passed with no second advent. This is another characteristic weakness of the historicist approach. It has this track record of failed date-setting.

Another famous failure was when a Baptist preacher, William Miller, predicted the imminent return of Jesus Christ. On the basis of Daniel 8:14, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Miller became convinced that the twenty-three-hundred-day period started in 457 BC with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem by Artaxerxes I of Persia. Then using the day/year principle favored by historicists he calculated Christ’s return to occur in 1843. It is now famously called the Great Disappointment of 1844. Many folks had sold everything they owned because of this belief. Other groups resorted to rather pitiable lengths to preserve the date. Reaching for straws, they speculated that Miller’s assumption — that the sanctuary to be cleansed was the earth– was the problem and that it represented the sanctuary in heaven.

Accordingly, the October 22, 1844 date was modified to denote when Christ entered the Holy of Holies in the heavenly sanctuary, not the Second Coming. This group became the Seventh-day Adventist Church of today and this modification is called the doctrine of the pre-Advent Divine Investigative Judgment.[viii] Frankly, it seems like an excuse to us. Miller was simply wrong. The lesson to be learned here is that it is perfectly fine and even commendable to be fascinated by prophecy and to study various interpretations, but always follow Paul’s teaching in 2 Thessalonians. The purpose of that letter leads many interpreters to infer that some of the Thessalonians were so sure that the day of the Lord was upon them that they had quit their jobs. Paul admonished them in chapter 3 to remain steadfast maintaining their lives and testimonies. We encourage you to do the same. We want to be upfront that the ideas in this book concerning the Malachy prophecy with dates and times are speculative. We are only pointing out what others have written. It is always wise to be prepared, but we certainly do not recommend selling all of your possessions like the Millerites!

Here is an elaborate chart which was popular prior to 1844 showing many historical events in the Millerite historical framework:

Next week we will examine the historicist views of Jonathan Edwards and a prominent Presbyterian who predicted the year 2012 back in 1876!



[i] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 46.

[ii] “Genetic Fallacy,” Fallacy Files,

[iii] Manuel Lacunza, Edward Irving, The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty, Volume 1 (Seeley, 1827) pg. 252.

[iv] The entire set is available for free on the Pertrus Romanus Giveaway Disc.

[v] Charles Spurgeon, Commentating on Commenataries (London: Passmore and Alabaster; 1876) p. 199

[vi] Edward Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae vol 4, (London: Seeley, Burnside, and Seely, 1847), 233

[vii] Edward Elliot, Horae Apocalypticae vol 4, 237..

[viii] Roy Adams, “The Pre-Advent Judgment” Adventist World, last accessed January 27, 2012,

Petrus Romanus – Historicism Back to the Future

By Cris D. Putnam
Historicism has its roots in the twelfth century when a Catholic mystic named Joachim of Fiore reasoned that because God is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), then history itself is also a trinity of three ages. Later, Martin Luther first struggled with the book of Revelation writing in his first German Bible that “Christ is neither taught nor known in it.”[1] Only a few years later in 1530, Luther changed his mind and wrote of it as a map of history. This quickly became the dominant view. Since the reformation, there has been a large body of biblical scholarship which posits the events in the books of Revelation as milestones in Church history. Many think the shift away from this paradigm is a product of the Jesuit Counter Reformation. After all, the destiny of the Church as the bride of Christ is arguably God’s primary focus in the book. Even so, it is important to recognize that although it was written for us, it was not originally to us. It was first meant to encourage the first-century churches that were enduring persecution and discouragement. Now, two thousand years later, we still can be encouraged that Christ will return to make things right. Where the seals, trumpets, and vials have been progressing since the first century in historicism, the futurist approach places the majority of the book of Revelation’s judgments in the seven year Great Tribulation scenario. Traditionally, futurism and historicism are viewed as opposing camps but we think that is a drastic oversimplification. It seems that eschatology is best held with a loose grip.

With exception of the heterodox full preterist view, all interpretations are futurist to one degree or another. Even historicists are necessarily futurists in regard to Christ’s return and the battle of Armageddon. Also many (like Spurgeon) are premillennialists who allow for a future restoration of Israel. On the other side, even staunch dispensationalists like John Walvoord have historicist elements in their hermeneutic. Concerning the letters to the seven churches in chapters two and three of the book of Revelation, he writes:

Many expositors believe that in addition to the obvious implication of these messages the seven churches represent the chronological development of church history viewed spiritually. They note that Ephesus seems to be characteristic of the Apostolic Period in general and that the progression of evil climaxing in Laodicea seems to indicate the final state of apostasy of the church. This point of view is postulated upon a providential arrangement of these churches not only in a geographical order but by divine purpose, presenting also a progress of Christian experience corresponding to church history. As in all scriptural illustrations, however, it is obvious that every detail of the messages addressed to these particular churches is not necessarily fulfilled in succeeding periods of church history. What is claimed is that there does seem to be a remarkable progression in the messages. It would seem almost incredible that such a progression should be a pure accident, and the order of the messages to the churches seems to be divinely selected to give prophetically the main movement of church history.[2]

Whereas Walvoord places the events of the rest of the book into the seventieth week of Daniel (a future seven-year tribulation period), the historicist school sees the seals, trumpets, and bowls as the unraveling of history stretched out until Christ’s return.  As a classic representative example of the historicist approach to the book of Revelation, Irish Protestant preacher, astronomer and author, Henry Grattan Guinness, is good place to begin. He was a popular evangelist in the Evangelical awakening preaching to thousands during events like the Ulster Revival of 1859. He was responsible for training and sending hundreds of missionaries all over the world. He also wrote extensively on the historical interpretation of prophecy. He preferred to call it the presentist interpretation:

The second or PRESENTIST interpretation, is that historic Protestant view of these prophecies, which considers them to predict the great events to happen in the world and in the church, from St John’s time to the coming of the Lord; which sees in the Church of Rome, and in the Papacy, the fulfillment of the prophecies of Babylon and of the Beast, and which interprets the times of the Apocalypse on the year-day system. This view originated about the eleventh century, with those who even then began to protest, against the growing corruptions of the Church of Rome.[3]

So the issue is not really whether one is a futurist or historicist, it is where one draws the dividing line. Because it is not possible to know where this line is with certainty, we suggest there is plenty of room to allow for elements of both views. In the soon to be released book Petrus Romanus we suggest a hybrid approach which reconciles the most coherent elements of both views.

As an example of a modern historicist hybrid approach, I suggest John Piper’s sermon The Prayers of the Saints and the End of the World:

So Jesus begins to open the seals of the scroll of history. And with the opening of each seal, a vision is given to John not of the actual end of the world—that comes when the scroll itself is opened after all the seven seals are taken off its outer edge (the seven trumpets and seven bowls)—but what John sees is, I think, what Jesus called in Mark 13:8, “the beginning of the birth pangs”—the kinds of things in history that lead up to the end and mark this age with increasing intensity. Jesus said, “For nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.


Next week we will examine some of the strengths and weaknesses of both schools in our quest for the most accurate interpretation.


[1] Craig R. Koester, “The Apocalypse: Controversies and Meaning in Western History” The Great Courses, (Chantilly, Virginia: The Teaching Company 2011), 102.

[2] John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Galaxie Software, 2008), 52.

[3] Henry Grattan Guinness, The Approaching End of the Age, 8th edition (London: Hodder and Stoughten, 1882), 94.


Petrus Romanus and the Jerusalem Connection Part 3

By Cris D. Putnam
The Vatican’s establishment of full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1993 has been credited as an overdue political consequence to the theological changes reflected in Nostra Aetate. However, in truth, there is much more going on than meets the eye. As early as April 15th, 1992, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger visited Israel and met exclusively with Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek. The Jerusalem mayor was quoted previously as saying, “The Israeli government should meet the Vatican’s demand to apply special status for Jerusalem.”[i] An Israeli journalist, Barry Chamish, has been working fearlessly for over two decades to expose a conspiracy which includes the current President of Israel, Shimon Peres, and his aid, Yossi Beilin. In his 2000 book, Save Israel, Chamish wrote:

In March 1994, the newspaper Shishi revealed a most remarkable secret of the Middle East “peace” process. A friend of Shimon Peres, the French intellectual Marek Halter, claimed in an interview that in May 1993, he delivered a letter from Peres to the pope. Within, Peres promised to internationalize Jerusalem, granting the UN political control of the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Vatican hegemony of the holy sites within. The UN would give the PLO a capital within its new territory and East Jerusalem would become a kind of free trade zone of world diplomacy.

Halter’s claim was backed by the Italian newspaper La Stampa, which added that Arafat was apprised of the agreement and it was included in the secret clauses of the Declaration of Principles signed in Washington in September 1993.[ii]

We took pains to fact-check Chamish’s claims, and to the extent that we were able, they checked out. Below is the original article which ran in the Italian paper La Stampa:

The headline reads “‘Now Jerusalem’ Secret Plan: to entrust it to the Pope”; the text below and to left of John Paul II’s photo reads, “The old town, under the auspices of the Vatican would be administered by the Palestinians Arafat told me: ‘I’m going to Jericho.’” The small print below that reads, “Mark Halter, French Israeli writer who, like other Jewish intellectuals played a mediating role in the difficult question, said here, the Pope would have the ‘spiritual sovereignty’ of the old town.” (translation Putnam)

It seems that the timing of the Vatican’s long overdue recognition of the state of Israel was motivated more by ambition than repentance. The major players on the Israeli side are the current President Shimon Peres (the Israeli representative at Oslo) and his aid, left-wing politician Yossi Beilin, a former Knesset member, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, and Justice Minister. The secret deal was allegedly meant to sweeten the pot as a clandestine portion of the Oslo Accords. According to another Israeli journalist, Joel Bainerman, New World Order think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations was behind the deal all along and was encouraging a turnover of Jerusalem to the Vatican:

Pope Benedict XVI embraces Israel's President Shimon Peres

The plan was originally discussed in November 1992 (the same time the first meetings in London took place to discuss an agreement between Israel and the PLO which was probably arranged by Council on Foreign Relations executive, Edgar Bronfman) when then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met with Vatican officials in Rome. Under the plan, Jerusalem will stay the capital of Israel but the Old City will be administered by the Vatican. Arafat agreed not to oppose the plan. The plan also calls for Jerusalem to become the second Vatican of the world with all three major religions represented but under the authority of the Vatican. [iii] (emphasis added)

It seems the plan is underway. On February 4, 2012, an op-ed piece ran on the Israeli news site Ynet News titled, “Don’t Bow to the Vatican.” The editorial by Italian journalist Giulio Meotti opposes the Vatican’s designs on Jerusalem, and speaks in the past tense referencing the sovereignty over the Cenacle (which houses the Hall of the Last Supper and King David’s tomb):

Don’t Bow to the Vatican

Israel reached an historical agreement with the Vatican to give up some sort of sovereignty over the “Hall of the Last Supper” on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. The Vatican will now have a foothold at the site: Israel agreed to give the Vatican first priority in leasing opportunities and access to it. [iv]

It appears that Rome’s Jerusalem ambitions are being implemented just in time for the arrival of Petrus Romanus.

Next week we will begin to examine how this potentially fits into biblical prophecy.

[i] As cited by Joel Bainerman, “The Vatican Agenda: How Does the Vatican View the Legitimacy of Israel’s Claims to Jerusalem?” last accessed February 13, 2012,

[ii] Barry Chamish, Save Israel (Israel: Modlin House, 2001), 117.

[iii] Joel Bainerman, “Secrets of Oslo,” last accessed January 10, 2012,

[iv] Giulio Meotti, “Don’t bow to the Vatican Op-ed: State of Israel Should Not be Giving Up its Sovereignty Over Holy Sites in Jerusalem,” February 4, 2012,,7340,L-4185027,00.html.


The Prophecy of the Popes & the 2012 Connection

The Belgian Jesuit Rene Thibaut’s book, The Mysterious Prophecy of the Popes, has unlocked an entirely different means of investigating the prophecy of the pope’s fulfillment that no one else seems to have imagined possible. His work is deeply mystical and prohibitively complex to explain exhaustively. It is also out of print, exceedingly rare, and written in French which makes it exorbitantly inaccessible to all but the most dedicated. We can only claim to be scratching the surface of what he presents. Frankly, we are astounded that the 2012 meme of the last few years did not bring this forgotten volume to light. Please note that we do realize that date-setting has a well-documented 100 percent failure rate but, even so, we must acknowledge, there it is, 2012, brazened all over the pages of this 1951 tome. The simplest calculation which derives 2012 for the last pope is based on extrapolating the average papal reign of eleven years. Forty popes times eleven years is four hundred forty years: 40 x 11 = 440 Add that to the year 1572 (the year the genuine portion of the prophecy begins) and you land in 2012: 440 + 1572 = 2012 Although Thibaut wrote in 1951, we continued his thesis forward by adding the additional popes. The average eleven-year reign he predicted held true through John Paul II. It certainly did not have to. This was a risky prediction and it was confirmed. If John Paul I had lived a normal lifespan and held a much longer reign instead of dying mysteriously after thirty-three days, this trend might have ended. We even used papal reigns in days to get 1/365th accuracy and our results not only confirmed Thibaut’s work but revealed a potential we did not expect. The following is a chart rendered from a software spread sheet we used to verify Thibaut’s theory:  

Pope (Reign) Prophecy Days Reign in Years
Gregory XIII (May 13, 1572 to April 10, 1585) 72. Medium corpus pilarum “Half body of the balls” 4715 12.90924568
Sixtus V ( April 24, 1585 to August 27, 1596) 73. Axis in medietate signi“Axle in the midst of a sign” 4143 11.34316115
Urban VII (September 15, 1590 to September 27, 1590) 74. De rore caeli “From the dew of the sky” 12 0.03285492
Gregory XIV (December 5, 1590 to October 15, 1591) 75. Ex antiquitate Urbis “Of the antiquity of the city” 314 0.859703742
Innocent IX (October 29, 1591 to December 30, 1591) 76. Pia civitas in bello “Pious city in war” 62 0.16975042
Clement VIII (January 30, 1592 to March 3, 1605) 77. Crux Romulea “Cross of Romulus” 4781 13.08994774
Leo XI (April 1, 1605 to Saturday, April 27, 1605) 78. Undosus vir “Wavy man” 26 0.07118566
Paul V (May 16, 1605 to Sunday, January 28, 1621) 79. Gens perversa “Corrupted nation” 5736 15.70465179
Gregory XV (February 9, 1621 to July 8, 1623) 80. In tribulatione pads “In the trouble of peace” 879 2.406622895
Urban VIII (August 6, 1623 to July 29, 1644) 81. Lilium & rosa “Lily and rose” 7663 20.98060437
Innocent X (September 15, 1644 to January 7, 1655) 82. Iucunditas cruds “Delight of the cross” 3766 10.31096908
Alexander VII (April 7, 1655 to May 22, 1667) 83. Montium custos “Guard of the mountains” 4428 12.1234655
Clement IX (June 20, 1667 to December 9, 1669) 84. Sydus olorum “Star of the swans” 903 2.472332735
Clement X (April 29, 1670 to July 22, 1676) 85. De flumine magno “From a great river” 2276 6.231483172
Innocent XI (September 21, 1676 to August 12, 1689) 86. Bellua insatiabilis “Insatiable beast” 4708 12.89008031
Alexander VIII (October 6, 1689 to February 1, 1691) 87. Pœnitentia gloriosa “Glorious penitence” 483 1.322410533
Innocent XII (July 12, 1691 to September 27, 1700 ) 88. Rastrum in porta “Rake in the door” 3365 9.213067168
Clement XI (November 23, 1700 to March 19, 1721) 89. Flores drcundati “Surrounded flowers” 7421 20.31803015
Innocent XIII (May 8, 1721 to May 29, 1724) 90. De bona religione “From good religion” 1117 3.058245476
Benedict XIII (May 29, 1724 – February 21, 1730) 91. Miles in bello“Soldier in War” 2094 5.733183551
Clement XII (July 12, 1730 – February 6, 1740) 92. Columna excelsa “Lofty column” 3496 9.571733379
Benedict XIV (August 17, 1740 to May 3, 1758) 93. Animal rurale“Country animal” 6457 17.67868491
Clement XIII (July 6, 1758 to February 2, 1769) 94. Rosa Umbriae“Rose of Umbria” 3864 10.57928426
Clement XIV (May 18, 1769 to September 22, 1774) 95. Ursus velox“Swift bear” 1953 5.347138241
Pius VI (February 15, 1775 to August 29, 1799) 96. Peregrinus apostolicus “Apostolic pilgrim” 8961 24.53441156
Pius VII (March 14, 1800 to August 20, 1823) 97. Aquila rapax “Rapacious eagle” 8559 23.43377174
Leo XII (September 28, 1823 to February 10, 1829) 98. Cants & coluber“Dog and adder” 1962 5.371779431
Pius VIII (March 31, 1829 to December 1, 1830) 99. Vir religiosus “Religious man” 610 1.670125103
Gregory XVI (February 2, 1831 to June 1, 1846) 100. De balneis Ethruriae “From the baths of Tuscany” 5598 15.32682021
Pius IX (June 16, 1846 to February 7, 1878) 101. Crux de cruce“Cross from cross” 11,559 31.64750175
Leo XIII (February 20, 1878 to July 20, 1903) 102. Lumen in caelo“Light in the sky” 9280 25.40780485
St. Pius X (August 4, 1903 to August 20, 1914) 103. Ignis ardens“Burning fire” 4034 11.04472896
Benedict XV (September 3, 1914 to January 22, 1922) 104. Religio depopulata “Religion depopulated” 2698 7.386881195
Pius XI (February 6, 1922 to February 10, 1939) 105. Fides intrepida“Intrepid faith” 6213 17.01063486
Pius XII (March 2, 1939 to October 9, 1958) 106. Pastor angelicus“Angelic shepherd” 7154 19.58700818
John XXIII (October 28 , 1958 to June 3, 1963) 107. Pastor & nauta “Shepherd and sailor” 1679 4.596950899
Paul VI (June 21, 1963 to August 6, 1978) 108. Flos florum“Flower of flowers” 5525 15.12695278
John Paul I (August 26, 1978 to September 28, 1978) 109. De medietate lunae“From the midst of the moon” 33 0.09035103
John Paul II (October 16, 1978 to April 2, 2005) 110. De labore solis“From the labor of the sun” 9665 26.4619002
Benedict XVI (April 19, 2005 – April 29, 2012 ) 111. Gloria olivae“Glory of the olive” 2567 7.028214984
? 112. Petrus Romanus“Peter the Roman”

Average Reign

Average reign 1572 to 1951 (@ when Thibaut published) 11.05255156
Average reign 1572 to 2005 (through John Paul II) 11.1055246
Average reign if Benedict XVI is no longer pope by April 29, 2012 = 11.00359186
Days in a year = 365.2421
Thibaut’s Formula = 40 popes x average 11-year reign = 440 years
Arrival of Petrus Romanus = 1572 + 440 = 2012

  What makes this particularly interesting is that if Pope Benedict were to step down in April, it would yield a near-perfect eleven. Thibaut did not use decimal numbers, so anytime during 2012 would verify he got it right. He simply predicted it would be in the year 2012. Even so, you can imagine our shock as we were translating this from French when we saw this story (click hyperlink below):

Media say Pope may resign in April

  If so, then Thibaut was spot on back in 1951. The eleven year average could have been falsified. What if John Paul I had enjoyed a ten year pontificate? Many events could have rendered Thibaut’s work invalid but here we are in 2012 and things are falling neatly in place. We promise the average papal reign calculation is only the beginning. He derives the year 2012 from several other methods of cryptographic analysis form the Latin text of the prophecy of the popes. In Petrus Romanus we painstaking walk you through a few of the calculations. If we weren’t absolutely certain that this was published in 1951, we would accuse the author of going to extravagant lengths to derive 2012. However, we can think of no obvious reason the Jesuit mathematician would want to derive 2012 other than he believed it to be the case. The year 2012 was not even on the radar in 1951, and Thibaut died in 1952. It certainly did not make him famous and his book is now extremely obscure. 2012 is upon us and the buzz from the Vatican only seems to confirm the prophecy.  

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Patrick Heron’s End Time Eisegesis

By Cris D. Putnam

Patrick Heron likely means well but zeal comes before knowledge. He invokes the end times to assert that only now God is revealing special insight on the prophetic scriptures (apparently to himself). In other words, all the great expositors and scholars of the past have unable to decode the prophecies properly, but only now God has granted special insight to a select few, including himself, to warn God’s people… Really? He argues that only now has God “unsealed” the secrets in the book of Revelation and prophetic scriptures. This betrays a serious lack of knowledge of the book in which he claims to be an authority. The book of Revelation was never sealed, it was written to the first century Christians as well as for us today:

And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.(Re 22:10)

But Patrick believes he has been granted special insight and cites,

Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7).

Astonishingly, he actually appears to be implying that he qualifies as such a prophet in this video at :57. I wanted to let it pass, but it seems he really means it because he cites it again at 17:30. Are we really supposed to believe that God will not do anything without letting Patrick Heron, the endtime prophet, know first? Seriously? He certainly implies as much by repeatedly citing it. But citing this verse from Amos is a major abuse of scripture. Amos was a shepherd and farmer called to prophesy during the reigns of Uzziah (792–740 BC) in the southern kingdom and Jeroboam II (793–753 BC) in the north. Amos was not giving his opinions on the interpretation of scripture; rather he spoke the very words of God directly. The Old Testament prophets were not just prognosticators rather they were spokespersons for God and covenant enforcers. This context no longer exists as we are under a new covenant and Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man. To apply Amos 3:7 to a modern context and especially to yourself is an egregious error and extraordinarily arrogant.

His approach is very condescending as he labels the rendering in all English translations since the 16th century as a “deception.” Yes, even the authorized KJV as well as all modern translations are demonic deceptions according to Heron! The verse in question is:

“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 son of perdition;(2 Th 2:3, KJV)

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,(2 Th 2:3, ESV)

He desperately wants to believe that apostasia means a “departure” in the sense of the “rapture” the church being gathered bodily directly preceding the Great Tribulation and the coming of the antichrist. The following observations point to the implausibility of this identification.

  • The word apostasia in the Greek Old and New Testaments always refers to a “departure from faith” and never to a “catching away”, “bodily resurrection” or “gathering.”
  • A negatively religious nuance of “departure” is also dictated by the context, since in 2 Thes 2:3 it is conjoined with the man of lawlessness, and in 2 Thes 2:8–12 deception and departing from the faith also appear in conjunction with “the lawless one.”
  • The “gathering” of 2:1 is an allusion to Paul’s earlier teaching on the rapture of God’s people (1 Thess 4:14–17; cf. 1 Cor 15:52). Thus, Paul’s message to the Thessalonians was that they should not be misled because a sure sign of Christ’s return, the apostasy, has not yet taken place. This was Paul’s way of comforting them and reassuring them that they had not missed the Lord’s return. Patrick’s reading misses Paul’s point. We should expect to see a massive apostasy and the rise of Antichrist before the rapture.
  • The coming of Christ can still be imminent like “a thief in the night.” We should allow the possibility that the two signs will take place so quickly that by the time we recognize them as such, Christ’s lightning-like coming will have been set in motion (see Mt 24:27). Even so, Paul says it should not surprise us if we are alert (1 Thes 5:4). But this can be difficult because we live in the “already/not yet” period. Accordingly, the fulfillment of the prophesied apostasy and lawless one’s coming has been inaugurated and has occurred cyclically throughout history. John wrote back in the first century, “Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour” (1 Jn 2:18).  The last hour has been going on for 2,000 years! This explains why throughout the church’s existence many have erroneously claimed that the end has arrived. The claim is understandable, but the error lies in the inability to discern when precisely the apostasy has reached its absolute zenith and when one individual sufficiently incarnates lawlessness to the degree Paul has in mind in 2 Thes 2:4. Because of this no one can responsibly claim with absolute certainty, as Patrick does, that the end times are underway until these two signs have demonstrably occurred.

At 5:45 in the video, Patrick states that, “the answer to error is right doctrine.” This is of course true but right doctrine is derived from a sound hermeneutic which he has already abandoned at the outset with the unsealing of an open book and a gross misapplication of Amos 3:7. Of course, Patrick’s real purpose here is to promote his book and prop up the pretribulation rapture position. The word in question is apostasia. According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament:


A later construction for ἀπόστασις. The word presupposes the concept ἀποστάτης “to be an apostate,” and thus signifies the state of apostasy, whereas ἀπόστασις denotes the act. Politically an ἀποστάτης is a “rebel” (Polyb., V, 41, 6; 57, 4: τοῦ βασιλέως; Diod. S., XV, 18: τῆς πατρίδος), and this sense is retained in ἀποστασία (Plut. Galb., 1 (I, 1052e): τὴν ἀπὸ Νέρωνος ἀποστασίαν; Jos. Vit., 43: διὰ τὴν ἀποστασίαν τὴν ἀπὸ Ῥωμαίων; Ap., 1, 135 f.; Ant., 13, 219.

In the LXX it also occurs in the political sense in 1 Esr. 2:23. It is particularly employed, however, in the religious sense, Jos. 22:22; Jer. 2:19; 2 Ch. 29:19 (the apostasy of Ahaz); 33:19 (of Manasseh). Cf. 1 Macc. 2:15 (used absol.); Asc. Is. 2:4. ἀποστάτης has also retained this religious sense, cf. Is. 30:1; 2 Macc. 5:8: Jason ὡς τῶν νόμων ἀποστάτης καὶ βδελυσσόμενος; Nu. 14:9; Jos. 22:16, 19: ἀποστάτης ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου.[1]

At 8:00, Patrick claims that Apostasia did not mean this in the Ancient Greek language. I guess someone forgot to tell the ancient Greeks that. He then cites Bullinger’s 100 year old argument concerning the construction of the term based on its roots. Interestingly, all of the translations he cited are from the 1500s!  Remember Patricks assertion in the beginning of the video that only now in the end times have the prophecies been unsealed… isn’t it odd that all of his sources are over 100 years old? (Patrick repeatedly asserts that scripture cannot contradict itself but apparently its fine when he does). The problem with using antiquated scholarship is that knowledge of the ancient Greek language has increased exponentially due to academic linguistics and archeological discoveries. Hence, today’s scholars are much more authoritative on Greek grammar and etymology. What Patrick has engaged in here is a commonly known exegetical fallacy:

1. The root fallacy

One of the most enduring of errors, the root fallacy presupposes that every word actually has a meaning bound up with its shape or its components. In this view, meaning is determined by etymology; that is, by the root or roots of a word. [2]

He claims a better rendering is “the departure” and then claims that the same term is used 15 times in the New Testament and 12 out of the 15 it is used as a departure. Yet if we search by lemma, meaning the canonical or dictionary morphology, it really only appears twice. One being the verse in question and the other in Acts:

 κατηχήθησαν δὲ περὶ σοῦ ὅτι ἀποστασίαν διδάσκεις ἀπὸ Μωυσέως τοὺς κατὰ τὰ ἔθνη πάντας Ἰουδαίους, λέγων μὴ περιτέμνειν αὐτοὺς τὰ τέκνα μηδὲ τοῖς ἔθεσιν περιπατεῖν.

“and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs.(Ac 21:21)

Hear it clearly means a departure from the faith and a rebellion as well. The important thing is how did first century people use the word. To see how Paul would have understood and used it the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, is  a great source, the term appears four times:

22 Ὁ θεὸς θεός ἐστιν κύριος, καὶ ὁ θεὸς θεὸς κύριος αὐτὸς οἶδεν, καὶ Ισραηλ αὐτὸς γνώσεται, εἰ ἐν ἀποστασίᾳ ἐπλημμελήσαμεν ἔναντι τοῦ κυρίου, μὴ ῥύσαιτο ἡμᾶς ἐν ταύτῃ, [3]

“The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith against the Lord, do not spare us today.” (Jos 22:22)

(I will not bother to show the LXX for the rest, but I could…)

“All the utensils that King Ahaz repudiated during his reign when he was faithless, we have made ready and sanctified; see, they are in front of the altar of the Lord.”(2 Ch 29:19)

“The king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them offer sacrifice.”(1 Mac 2:15)

“Your wickedness will punish you, and your apostasies will convict you. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God; the fear of me is not in you, says the Lord God of hosts.”(Je 2:19)

So Patrick is just wrong about the common usage of the word. He is engaging in another common fallacy known as “special pleading.” He is allowing his preference for the pretribulation rapture position to cloud his exegesis. I confronted him about his qualifications to dispute the unanimous (since the 16th century anyway) English rendering of the Greek in an email and he cited his Masters degree and Doctorate in Christian Literature. According to Wikipedia:

Heron holds a B.Sc. and M.A. in Business Studies from Trinity College, Dublin. He also holds a Degree in Theology and recently received an Honorary Doctorate in Christian Literature from the California Pacific School of Theology, Glendale, California, as a result of the research done in his book, The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse.[4]

His academic training is in business. So, in reality, he has no Greek exegesis credentials whatsoever and even his gifted doctorate is from an unaccredited institution. I would not have brought this into it, except that he brought it up as way to give himself some credibility. In truth, it does not appear that he put in the hard work to learn Greek that even a seminary trained youth pastor has. Patrick is clearly wrong in his interpretation but that does not mean that any rapture position is necessarily falsified. However, it does seem very clear that the church will see the apostasy and rise of Antichrist. This apostasy will take place within the professing church and will be a departure from the truth that God has revealed in His Word. While it is true that apostasy has characterized the church almost from its inception, Paul referred to a specific distinguishable apostasy that will come in the future (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 4:3-4; James 5:1-8; 2 Peter 2; 3:3-6; Jude). Do not listen to Heron for your comfort, be prepared, listen to Paul:

Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction.(2 Th 2:3)

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,(1 Ti 4:1)

But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Th 5:4–9)

And listen to Jesus:

Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come (Mt 24:10–14)

For a more responsible handling of the rapture issue I commend the work of Chris White to you:



For an excellent scholarly treatment of the subject see:

For an editorial see:

[1] , vol. 1, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-), 513.

[2]D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, 2nd ed. (Carlisle, U.K.; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Paternoster; Baker Books, 1996), 28.

[3] Septuaginta : With Morphology, electronic ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1979), Jos 22:22.