The Non-Preterist Historicalism of John Calvin and the Westminster Standards

Prior to Chrysostom, adds Calvin himself, "the power of the Roman Empire [itself] prevented the rise of Antichrist…. Satan had not yet amassed such strength that Antichrist could openly oppress the Church…. The name 'Antichrist' does not designate a single individual — but a single kingdom which extends throughout many generations….

"[Yet] the reign of Antichrist will be temporary…. He [Paul] had predicted the destruction of the reign of Antichrist, and now describes the manner of his destruction. He will be annihilated by the Word of the Lord…. Paul does not think that Christ will accomplish this in a single moment….

                                                             18 Comm. on Matt. 24:34. 19 Comm. on II Thess. 2:2-8.

"Meantime, Christ will scatter the darkness in which Antichrist will reign, by the rays which He will emit…. This victory of the Word will therefore be seen in the world. For 'the Breath of His Mouth' [alias ‘the Spirit of the Word of God’] means simply His Word, as in Isaiah 11:4 — the passage to which Paul appears to be alluding….

"True and sound doctrine…is represented as being sufficient to put an end to all ungodliness — and as destined at all times to be victorious over all the devices of Satan. It is also a commendation, when a little further on the preaching of this doctrine is referred to B as Christ's coming to us!" Second Thessalonians 2:8 cf. 3:1. Indeed, all of this will yet occur — before the final visible return to earth of the Lord Jesus Christ at the very end of world history. Second Thessalonians 1:7-12; 2:1-17; 3:1-4f.

The anti-preteristic historicism of the Belgic Confession (arts. 28 & 29) 

Declares the Calvinistic Belgic Confession in its articles 28 & 29: AWe condemn the papal assemblies, as the pure Word of God is banished from them.   Their sacraments are corrupted or falsified or destroyed.   And all superstitions and idolatries are in them….   Some trace of the Church is left in the Papacy, and the virtue and substance of baptism remain….   But, on account of its corruptions, we cannot present children to be baptized in it, without incurring pollution.   

AAs to the true Church, we believe that it should be governed according to the order established by our Lord Jesus Christ….  There should be pastors, overseers, and deacons – so that true doctrine may have its course; that errors may be corrected and suppressed and the poor and all who are in affliction may be helped in their necessities; and that assemblies may be held in the Name of God, so that great and small may be edified. 

The anti-preteristic Preamble to the Canons of Dordt

States the Preamble to the Canons of Dordt: AThe good Shepherd, Who loves His flock for which He laid down His life with the greatest perseverence, constantly held back the rage of its persecutors at the right time and frequently bridled it with His outstretched hand in a wonderful way.   He also uncovered and destroyed the crooked paths and deceptive counsels of the seducers…..

By a similar benefit, our faithful Saviour has at this time showed His gracious presence to the Church in the Netherlands which was heavily persecuted for a good few years.   This Church was always redeemed by the might hand of God from the tyranny of the Romish Antichrist and the terrible idolatry of the Papacy.   In the midst of the dangers of such a long-lasting war, she was frequently protected in wonderful ways.   And, by unitedly holding fast to the true doctrine and discipline to the praise of her God, she greatly blossomed.   She was expanded unto admirable growth of the Republic and joy of the entire Reformed World.

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