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

"The sense will be (in my judgment) that the human race which Satan was endeavouring to oppress, would at length be victorious….. The whole Church of God under its Head will gloriously exult over him. To this the declaration of Paul refers, 'The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.' Romans 16:20…. The power of bruising Satan is imparted to faithful men, and thus the blessing is the common property of the whole Church."

Daniel and Calvin on the christianizability of the Pagan Roman Empire 

Around B.C. 603, Daniel interpreted a dream of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 2:27-45. On this passage, Calvin comments6 that the worldly kingdoms were predestined to get "broken up by Christ — according to this dream of King Nebuchadnezzar…. The dream was presented to King Nebuchadnezzar so that he might understand all future events, [right down] to the renovation of the world" — more than six centuries later at the first advent of Jehovah-Jesus, and beyond.

Calvin then prayed: "May Almighty God grant…that we may raise our eyes upwards, and consider how much power You have conferred upon Your only-begotten Son. Grant also, that He may rule and govern us by the might of His Spirit…and compel the whole world to promote our salvation…until at length we enjoy the fruit of the victory which You have promised!"

                                                             5 Comm. on Gen. 3:15. 6 Comm. on Dan. 2:31f.

Going on to discuss Daniel 2:44f, Calvin further comments7 that "the Prophet here puts an end to the Roman Empire when it began to be torn in pieces. As to the time when Christ's reign began…, it ought not to be referred to the time of His birth but to the preaching of the Gospel. From the time when the Gospel began to be promulgated, we know the Roman monarchy to have been dissipated and at length to vanish away…. 'God,' therefore, 'will set up the kingdoms of the heavens which shall never be dissipated.' It is here worth while to notice the sense in which Daniel uses the term 'perpetuity.' It ought not to be restricted to the person of Christ, but belongs to all the pious and the whole body of the Church."

Chiefly by way of evangelization, yet also to some extent in ways such as the above, ultimately even the Pagan Roman Empire would inevitably become christianized. This would be accomplished through the ongoing witness of the members of the earthly church of the Ascended Christ — equipped as they were (and still are) with the power of His outpoured and indwelling Spirit.

As Daniel (7:9-27) had predicted: "Thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit…. I saw…the Son of man come with the clouds of heaven…[not from but] to the Ancient of days…. There was given Him [to the Son of man] dominion and glory and a Kingdom — so that all people, nations and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away."

As a result, continued Daniel, "the saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom — and possess the Kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." True, the fourth kingdom [of Pagan Rome] and the later “stout horn” of the Antichrist Romish Papacy would still make “war against the saints [alias earthly Christians] — and prevail…until the Ancient of days came" to grant them relief. Cf. Daniel 12:6-11f and Revelation 13:1 to 14:5. Then, however, "judgment" or political rule would be "given to the saints of the Most High — when the time came for the saints to take possession of the kingdom" of Rome. Cf. Second Thessalonians 2:3-8 and Revelation 14:6 to 18:4f.

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