Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet


“Six-Seal Preterist” | Canon of Metz | Bishop of Meaux | Tutor for son of Louis XIV | “Divine Right of Kings” Champion | L’Apocalypse Avec Une Explication (1690)

Not to be confused with Wilhelm Bousset (1865 – 1920)

“The Eagle of Meaux”

Continuity of Religion Preterist Eschatology in the 16th through 18th Centuries


“Titus, enlightened enough to know that Judea perished by a manifest effect of the justice of God, knew not the crime which God had thought fit to punish so terribly. It was the most heinous of all crimes. A crime till then unheard of, namely, Deicide, which therefore gave occasion to a vengeance, whereof the world had seen no precedent.

But if we open our eyes a little, and consider the course of things, neither that crime of the Jews, nor its punishment, can remain hid from us.   Let us remember only what Jesus Christ, had foretold them. He had foretold the utter ruin of Jerusalem,  and of the temple, ‘There shall not be left,’ saith be ‘ one stone upon another.’ He hath foretold the manner, how that ungrateful city should be besieged, and the dreadful circumvallation that was to encompass it : he had foretold that terrible famine, which was to devour its inhabitants ; nor had be forgot the false prophets, by whom they were to be seduced. He had warned the Jews, that the time of their calamity was at hand ; He had given certain signs, which were to mark the precise hour of it. He had laid open to them the long series of crimes, which were to draw such punishments upon them : In a word, he had traced the whole history of the siege and desolation of Jerusalem.

And please. Sir, to observe, that he made them all these predictions towards the time of his passion, that so they might the better know the cause of all their miseries. His passion drew nigh, when he said to them : ‘ Behold I send unto you prophets and wise men, and scribes : and some of them ye shall kill and crucify ; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city : That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings ; and ye would not ! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.’

Such is the history of the Jews ! they persecuted their Messiah, both in his person, and in that of his followers : they stirred up the whole world against his disciples, and allowed them no rest in any city : they armed the Romans and Emperors against the infant church; they stoned St. Stephen, killed the two James’s, whose sanctity rendered them venerable even among them, slew St. Peter and St. Paul with the sword, and by the hands of the Gentiles. They needs must perish.

So much blood mingled with that of the prophets, whom they have massacred, cries to God for vengeance : Their houses and their city shall be desolate : Their desolation shall he no less than their wickedness; Jesus Christ forewarns them of it. The time is at hand : ” This generation shall not pass till all these things he fulfilled ;” and again. ” This generation shall not pass till all these things he done ;” that is, that the men then living were to he witnesses of them.

But let us hear the series of our Saviour’s predictions. As he made his entry into Jerusalem some
days before his death, touched with the calamities it was to bring upon that wretched city, he wept over it :  Ah ! says he, unhappy city, ” if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day,’ that is yet allowed thee to repent, ‘ the things which belong unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee : and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another ; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.’ This was intimating clearly enough both the manner of the siege, and the final effects of the vengeance.

But Jesus must not go to execution without denouncing to Jerusalem, how dearly it should one day pay for the unworthy treatment it was giving him. As he went to Calvary, hearing his cross upon his shoulders, “there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.  But Jesus turning unto them, said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never hare, and the paps which
never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fail on us ; and to the hills, cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry ?” If the innocent, if the just one suffer so rigorous a punishment, what are the guilty to expect ?

Did ever Jeremiah more bitterly lament the destruction of the Jews ? What stronger expressions
could the Saviour make use of to paint to them their misery and despair, and that dreadful famine fatal to children, and fatal to mothers, who saw their breasts dried up, who had no longer any thing but tears to give their children, and who eat the fruit of their wombs?  Such are the predictions he made to all the people.

Those he made in particular to his disciples deserve still greater attention. They are contained long and admirable discourse, wherein he joins together the destruction of Jerusalem and that of the world. ”  (Universal History, pp. 238-240)

(On the Significance of A.D.70)
“They have their book which they name Talmud, that is, doctrine, which they regard no less than the Scripture itself..  It is a collection of tracts and sentences of their doctors; and though the parts comprising that great work be not all of equal antiquity, the latest authors quoted in it lived in the earliest ages of the Church.  There, amidst numberless irrelevant fables, which take their rise for the most part after the time of our Lord, we find some beautiful remains of the ancient traditions of the Jewish people, and proofs that might convince them. And first, it is certain from the admission of the Jews, that the Divine vengeance did never more terribly nor more manifestly declare itself than in their last desolation.” (Continuity of Religion)

“Let us remember only what Jesus Christ had foretold them.” (Continuity of Religion)

(On Luke 23:30)
Fall upon us, hide us from the face of Him that is seated on the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great Day of their Wrath is come. Who shall be able to withstand it? The words are borrowed from Osee, x. 8, and Our Lord applies them to the desolation visited upon the Jews to avenge upon them His Passion.” (Luke xxiii. 30. Bossuet, L’Apocalypse, vi. 16. )

(On Daniel’s Seventieth Week)
“In the fifteenth year of Tiberius, St. John Baptist appears: JESUS CHRIST receives baptism from that divine harbinger: the eternal father acknowledges his well-beloved son, by a voice from heaven : the Holy Ghost descends upon the Saviour, under the harmless figure of a dove : the whole Trinity manifests itself. There begins, with the Seventieth week of Daniel, the preaching of JESUS CHRIST. This last week was the most important, and the most noted.

Daniel had distinguished it from the rest, as the week, wherein the covenant was to be confirmed, and in the middle of which; tile old sacrifices were to lose their efficacy. We may call it the week of mysteries. In it JESUS CHRIST establishes his mission and doctrine, by numberless miracles, and afterwards by his death. This happened in the fourth year of his ministry, which was also the fourth year of the last week of Daniel; and after this manner is that great week found exactly interfered by the suffering of our Saviour.

Thus the computation of the weeks is easy to be made, or rather is done already. We have only to add to 453 years, which will be found from the 300th year of Rome, and 20th of Artaxerxes, to the beginning of the vulgar era, the 30 years of that era which we fee come down to the fifth year of Tiberius, and the baptism of our Lord ; these two sums will make 483 years : of the seven years which yet remain to complete 490, the fourth, which makes the middle one, is that in which which Jefus Christ died : and all that Daniel prophesied, is visibly contained within the term prescribed. There would even have been no necessity for so much exactness, nor does any thing oblige us to take in so strict a sense the middle marked by Daniel.” (Universal History, pp. 114,115)

‘On voit ici que St. Michel est le defensur de l’Eglise, comme il l’etoit de la synagogue.” (Exp. de l’Apoc)

(On Luis Alcasar)
“Le savant jésuite Louis d’Alcasar, qui a fait un grand commentaire sur l’Apocalypse, où Grotius a pris beaucoup de ses idées, la fait voir parfaitement accomplie jusqu’au xxe chapitre, et y trouve les deux témoins sans parler d’Elie ni d’Enoch.

“XV. Qu’il peut y avoir plusieurs sens dans l’Ecriture, et en particulier dans l’Apocalypse.

A cela il faut ajouter ce que dit le même Alcasar avec tous les théologiens, qu’une interprétation même littérale de Y Apocalypse ou des autres prophéties, peut très-bien compatir avec les autres.

De sorte que sans entrer en inquiétude des autorités qu’on oppose, la réponse à tous ces passages, c’est premièrement qu’il faut savoir distinguer les conjectures des Pères d’avec leurs dogmes, et leurs sentimens paiticuliers d’avec leur consentement unanime : c’est qu’après qu’on aura trouvé dans leur consentement universel ce qui doit passer pour constant, et ce qu’ils auront donné pour dogme certain, on pourra le tenir pour tel par la seule autorité de la tradition, sans qu’il soit toujours nécessaire de le trouver dans saint Jean; c’est qu’enfin ce qu’on verra clairement qu’il y faudra trouver, ne laissera pas d’y être caché en figure, sous un sens déjà accompli et sous des événemens déjà passés.

Qui ne sait que la fécondité infinie de l’Ecriture n’est pas toujours épuisée par un seul sens? Ignore-t-on que Jésus-Christ et son Eglise sont prophétisés dans des endroits où il est clair que Salomon, qu’Ezéchias, que Cyrus, que Zorobabel, que tant d’autres sont entendus à la lettre? C’est une vérité qui n’est contestée ni par les catholiques, ni par les protestans. Qui ne voit donc qu’il est très-possible de trouver un sens très-suivi et très-littéral de l’Apocalypse parfaitement accompli dans le sac de Rome sous Ala- ric, sans préjudice de tout autre sens qu’on trouvera devoir s’accomplir à la fin des siècles? Ce n’est pas dans ce double sens que je trouve la difficulté.”  (Oeuvres complètes, 378)


“Save,” said he, “the Holy City, save yourselves, save that Temple, the wonder of the world, which the Romans reverence, and which Titus is loath to destroy.” (Joseph., The Jewish War, bk. 7, ch. 14, bk. 6, ch. 2)

Rabbi Johanan, Son of Zacai
“O Temple, Temple!  what is it that moves thee, and why dost thou make thyself afraid?” (Treat. on the Feast of the Atonement)


Alexander Brown
“Let us not forget that once in the Church’s history it was the common belief that John’s 1000 years were gone. Dorner bears witness that the Church up to Constantine understood by Antichrist chiefly the heathen state, and to some extent unbelieving Judaism (System iv.,390). Victorinus, a bishop martyred in 303, reckoned the 1000 years from the birth of Christ.

Augustine wrote his magnum opus ‘the City of God’ with a sort of dim perception of the identity of the Christian Church with the new Jerusalem. Indeed we know that the 1000 years were held to be running by the generations previous to that date, and so intense was their faith that the universal Church was in a ferment of excitement about and shortly after 1000 A.D. in expectation of the outbreak of Satanic influence. Wickliff, the reformer, believed that Satan bad been unbound at the end of the 1000 years, and was intensely active in his day. That this period in Church history is past, or now runs its course, has been the belief of a roll of eminent men too long to be chronicled on our pages of Augustine, Luther, Bossuet, Cocceius, Grotius, Hammond, Hengstenberg, Keil, Moses Stuart, Philippi, Maurice.” (Alexander Brown, Great Day of the Lord, p. 216.)

Ron Cooke
“The praeterist view found no favour and was hardly so much as thought of in the time of primitive Christianity. Those who lived near the date of the book of Revelation itself had no idea that its groups of imagery were intended merely to describe things then passing, and to be in a few years completed. This view is said to have been first promulgated in anything like completeness by the Jesuit Alcasar, in his “Vestigatio Arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi” (1604). Very nearly, the same plan was adopted by Grotius. The next great name among this school of interpreters is that of Bossuet the great antagonist of Protestantism.” (Unmitigated Twaddle)

Rand Winburn
“In 1688, Jesuit-educated and Preterist, Bishop Bossuet dropped a bombshell on Protestants by publishing his scathing indictment of Protestantism, The History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches.  Bossuet’s purpose is so doing was to show the lack of unity and succession of Protestant doctrines through the ages (which the Calvinists claimed), unlike the unity and apostolic doctrines of the Catholic Church, thus fulfilling the promise of Jesus in Matt. 16:18. Using the Protestant belief (that there have always been believers who have held to their anti-Catholic doctrines) against them, he proposes arguments proving the unorthodox Christianity of all the groups Protestants claimed as forefathers.” (Paulicans)

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