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

In the very next verse, Jesus then referred to the time when "the abomination of desolation spoken by Daniel the prophet stand[s] in the holy place.” Matthew 24:15. Calvin here comments17 that “in the twelfth chapter [of Daniel] the angel predicts what is called the final abrogation of the service of the Law…. He fixes absolutely the time both of the ruin [A.D. 70] and of the restoration" — by Wycliffe in A.D. 1360 and by Huss in A.D. 1405. "From the time, says he, that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION set up — there will be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who shall wait till he come to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days! Daniel 12:11-12….

"As that message was sad and melancholy — he again recalls the prophet to one year, and two years, and six months…. The Spirit therefore exhorts believers to prepare themselves for the exercise of patience not only for a single year — that is, for a long period — but to lay their account with enduring tribulations through an uninterrupted succession of many ages….

"He had formerly used this form of expression: The calamity of the Church shall last through a time, times, and half a time. Daniel 7:25. But now [in Daniel 12:7] he reckons the period of three years and six months by days — that believers may be more and more hardened by a very long continuance of calamities. For it is customary with men in adversity to compute time not by years or months but by days — a single day being, in their estimation, equal to a year. He says that those will be happy, who bear up to the end of that period" — viz. A.D. 1405, alias the beginning of the Protestant Reformation under the Wycliffite Huss!

                                                             16 Comm. on Matt. 24:14. 17 Comm. on Matt. 24:15.

Finally Jesus then stated: "Truly, I tell you this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Matthew 24:34. It is true that "within fifty years, the city was destroyed and the temple was rased" — Calvin concedes to preterism. But then he also comments, historicistically, that "the same evils were perpetrated in uninterrupted succession — for many ages afterwards…. The apostles endured the same things which we see in the present day [A.D. 1555-63]. And yet, it was not the design of Christ to promise to His followers that their calamities would be terminated within a short time. For then, He would have contradicted Himself — having previously warned them that the end was not yet!"18

Calvin on the Reformation's destruction of Romish Law and the Papal Antichrist 

In respect of the Pauline passage Second Thessalonians 2:2-8, on the above matters, we now give a final comment by Calvin. He insists:19 "Anyone who has learned from Scripture what are the things that belong particularly to God, and who on the other hand considers well what the Pope usurps for himself — will not have much difficulty in recognizing Antichrist….

"Scripture declares that God is the only Lawgiver…. It represents Him also as the Author of all holy observances…. There is not one of these things which the Pope does not claim to be his own prerogative. He boasts that it is his right to bind men's consciences with such laws as he pleases." Daniel 7:25 cf. Second Thessalonians 2:4-8.

The A.D. 400 Chrysostom, continues Calvin, "explains why the state of the Roman Empire [then] delayed the manifestation of Antichrist…. So Antichrist [held Chrysostom] was about to seize for himself the vacant rule of the Roman Empire." For the Roman Empire successively fell to the northern hordes, from A.D. 410 onwards.

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