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

“But thou, 0 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 is defined as a new post-modern method of reinterpreting the Apocalypse through a historical perspective.  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” view of Historicism is much more balanced with describing events in both the Western and Eastern Roman empires throughout history, and key events in the Middle East. The Neo-Historicist method presents a logical alternative to the Futurism and Full Preterism schools of thought for interpreting apocalyptic prophecy.

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.  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 Historicism model offers the reader a logical solution to interpreting biblical prophecy. This Historicist method is successfully achieved by analyzing and noting key events in history, with a with a strong correlation to end-times biblical prophecies, also backed by exact mathematical analysis of historical dates as solid proof. 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. 

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 heresy that challenged the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church for the last 2000 years.

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