Neo-Historicism: Resurrecting the Classical Historicist Method of Prophetic Interpretation for Modern Times

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the consummation, until many shall have been taught and knowledge shall have been multiplied. – Daniel 12:4 (Theodotion-Greek)

“(…) in a time of times and a half of a time, when the dispersion hath been consummated, all these things shall become known.” – Daniel 12:8 (Theodotion)

Our Lord as the “Man upon the Waters” in Daniel 12. Digital art by Ted Larson.

Neo-Historicism (also referred to as Eastern Historicism) is defined as a modern Eastern Orthodox method of reinterpreting the Apocalypse through a historical perspective.  The Neo-Historicist method presents a logical alternative to the Futurism and Full Preterism schools of thought for interpreting apocalyptic prophecy. Historicist scholars view prophecy as a continuous fulfillment of events throughout history up until the Second Coming of Christ. Neo-Historicism, however, looks from the second century through the present with a New Eastern Orthodox Historical examination, as compared to the more traditional Protestant-based Classical Historicism interpretations published from the 16th-to-19th centuries which tended to focus more of a Western European-only view of events in history centered around the Protestant Reformation. This “Neo” or eastern view of Historicism is more balanced with describing critical events in both the Western and Eastern Roman empires throughout history. Eastern Historicism aligns apocalyptic fulfillments with historical events in the great cities of Jerusalem and Constantinople around the Age of the Ecumenical Councils as the church launched a defense against major heresies, the rise of monasticism through the desert fathers, and the ultimate fall of the Byzantine Empire and the Protestant Reformation due to the rise and dominance of Islam and the Papacy in both the East and the West.

Western Historicist views were more common after the dawn of the reformation in the West with the printing of the first English bibles in the 16th century, and we can find hundreds, if not thousands, of these commentaries online today. However we do find a few Eastern Orthodox Historicist commentaries which appeared after the fall of Constantinople during the Ottoman Occupation in Greece. Historicist views exploded in the 17th and 18th centuries. However by the mid-19th century, Preterism and Futurism/Dispensationalism gained significant momentum, which promoted the idea that all prophecy was either fulfilled by 70 AD, or remains to be fulfilled still at some point in the future. The Classic Historicist view also lost significant popularity and momentum after William Miller’s failed 1844 AD prediction of the second coming of Christ, often called the Great Disappointment.  Even still, the Historicist view should be revisited once again by biblical scholars, with a new appreciation after the recent failures by many Evangelicals who attempted (and failed) to predict the exact date of the “rapture,” and with a fresh perspective now that we can examine the events of the middle east crisis in the past 20th century.

This new Eastern Historicism model and framework offers the reader a logical solution to interpreting biblical prophecy through the lens of viewing critical and key moments within the history of the church. That is, the Eastern Historicist method is successfully achieved by analyzing and noting key events in history, with a with a strong correlation to the apocalyptic biblical prophecies, but is also backed by predictive “models” and visual charts which we can demonstrate, through exact mathematical analysis, the precision of fulfillment of many historical dates as solid proof of fulfillment, especially with respect to many of the “times” statements found within the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. No other prophetic method of interpretation (specifically Preterism and Futurism) offers the same level of alignment of the biblical “times” prophecies to the calculation and confirmation of dates and realized historical events as Neo-Historicism.  The same can be said with comparing some of the western historicist interpretations as well. Many misinterpretations on the start dates and applications of the 2520-year and 1260-year prophecies lead to disappointments or spawning of new heretical movements after the mid 19th century, whereas the Eastern Historicist models and interpretations show exact and precice fulfillment with the acme and decline of Islam and the Papacy as we head to a restored coming future era of Apostolic Christianity and conversion of the Jews to the “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

Lastly, the ultimate benefit of the Neo-Historicist perspective is that it also offers a complete Christological-centric view and understanding of the Book of Daniel and St. John’s Apocalypse.  Centered around the the nature of Christ as the God-Man and Theanthropos (“man-child”), Who is fully divine and fully human, and Who was first revealed to us by the prophet Daniel as both the Ancient of Days and Son of Man, Neo-Historicism demonstrates the biblical foretelling of the rise of every major Christological heresy and schism that challenged the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church for the last 2000 years. Eastern Historicism offers a logic and sound alternative to the futurist interpretations promoted by some bishops and elders within the Orthodox Church which appear heavily tainted with Protestant Dispensationalist theology concerning a great apostacy to come within the walls of the Orthodox Church. This poisonous movement has even become more magnified in recent months due to recent events surrounding the pandemic. The Eastern Historicist method of prophetic interpretation demonstrates that the apostacy came long ago to attempt to divide, conquer and destroy the church. Eastern Historicism aligns well with the prophecies of the Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition, showing that the Megali Idea is still alive and well, and a message of hope for a brighter future for the coming resurrection and glory of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Image result for ancient of days orthodox icon
The Son of Man as the Logos, the Ancient of Days, The “man-child” God-Man & Theanthropos