Francisco Ribera

Francisco Ribera (1537–1591) was a Spanish Jesuit theologian, identified with the Futurist Christian eschatological view.


He was born at Villacastín.[1] He joined the Society of Jesus in 1570, and taught at the University of Salamanca. He acted as confessor to Teresa of Avila. He died in 1591 at the age of fifty-four, one year after the publication of his work In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij. [2]


Apocalypse commentary

In order to remove the papacy of the Catholic Church from consideration as the Antichrist (as an act of countering the Protestant Reformation), Ribera began writing a lengthy (500 page) commentary in 1585 on the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse) titled In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij, proposing that the first few chapters of the Apocalypse apply to ancient pagan Rome, and the rest he limited to a yet future period of 3½ literal years, immediately prior to the second coming. During that time, the Roman Catholic Church would have fallen away from the pope into apostasy because of the Reformation cry stating that "the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist." (Martin Luther, Aug. 18, 1520). Then, he proposed, the Antichrist, a single individual, would:

  • Persecute and blaspheme the saints of God.
  • Rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
  • Abolish the Christian religion.
  • Deny Jesus Christ.
  • Be received by the Jews.
  • Pretend to be God.
  • Kill the two witnesses of God.
  • Conquer the world.

To accomplish this, Ribera proposed that the 1260 days and 42 months and 3½ times of prophecy were not 1260 years as based on the year-day principle (Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6), but a literal 3½ years, hence preventing the arrival of the deduction of (i) the 1260 years to be related to the Dark Ages (according to the Historicism (Christianity) interpretation of eschatology from 538 A.D. when the papal power was fully established in Rome until its political blow in 1798 A.D., when Louis-Alexandre Berthier the general of Napoleon captured pope Pius VI as prisoner to Valence, France) and (ii) the Antichrist to be related to papacy.

Other works
  • Vida de la madre Teresa de Jesús (1590), a work of hagiography.[3]
  • In epistolam B. Pauli apostoli ad Hebraeos commentarii (1600).[4]


Futurism (Christianity) is the proposal that the Book of Revelation does not bear the application to the Middle Ages or the papacy, rather the "future" (more particularly to a period immediately prior to the Second Coming). In the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (1997) it is said that Ribera was an Augustinian amillennialist, who may have revived a "mild" form of futurism.[1] His interpretation was then followed by Robert Bellarmine and Thomas Malvenda.[2]

Thomas Brightman, in particular, writing in the early 17th century as an English Protestant, contested Ribera's views. He argued that the Catholic use of the Vulgate had withheld commentary from the Book of Revelation, and then provided an interpretation avoiding the connection with the Papacy put forward in the historicist point of view.[5]


  • Ralph Thompson, Champions of Christianity in Search of Truth, p. 91.
  • H. Grattan Guinness, History Unveiling Prophecy or Time as an Interpreter, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1905, p. 289.
  • Dave MacPherson, The Incredible Cover-Up: Exposing the Origins of Rapture Theories. Omega Publications, Medford Oregon. 1980.
  • Leroy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers: The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation, Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1948, Vol. 2, pp. 486–493, Vol. 3, pp. 533, 655, 731, Vol. 4, 1195, 1196, 1204.


  1. ^ a b Mal Crouch (editor), Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (1997) , p. 378; Google Books.
  2. ^ a b David Brady, The contribution of British writers between 1560 and 1830 to the interpretation of Revelation 13.16-18 (1983), p. 202; Google Books.
  3. ^ Carlos M. N. Eire, From Madrid to Purgatory: The Art and Craft of Dying in Sixteenth-Century Spain (2002), p. 383; Google Books.
  4. ^ Google Books.
  5. ^ Donald Burke, New England New Jerusalem: The millenarian dimension of transatlantic migration. A study in the theology of history (2006), p. 39; Google Books.
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