Albert Barnes

Albert Barnes (1798-1870) is considered by some to be a master of the historicist interpretation. His expository works cover the whole Bible, and they are all available for free online. I recommend checking his commentary if you have a question about the historcist view of a particular passage of Scripture. His commentary on Daniel 7 is a great place to start learning about the classical protestant view of apocalyptic prophecy.


From Wikipedia:

Albert Barnes (December 1, 1798 – December 24, 1870) was an American theologian, born in Rome, New York. He graduated from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, in 1820, and from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1823. Barnes was ordained as a Presbyterian minister by the presbytery of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, in 1825, and was the pastor successively of the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, New Jersey (1825–1830), and of the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia (1830–1868). Contemporarily, Barnes is most known for his extensive Bible commentary and notes on the Old and New Testaments, published in a total of 14 volumes in the 1830’s.

Albert Barnes held a prominent place in the New School branch of the Presbyterians during the Old School-New School Controversy, to which he adhered on the division of the denomination in 1837; he had been tried (but not convicted) for heresy in 1836, mostly due to the views he expressed in Notes on Romans (1834) of the imputation of the sin of Adam, original sin and the atonement; the bitterness stirred up by this trial contributed towards widening the breach between the conservative and the progressive elements in the church.

During the Old School-New School split in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Barnes allied himself with the New School Branch. He served as moderator of the General Assembly to the New School branch in 1851. He was an eloquent preacher, but his reputation rests chiefly on his expository works, which are said to have had a larger circulation both in Europe and America than any others of their class.

Of the well-known Notes on the New Testament, it is said that more than a million volumes had been issued by 1870. The Notes on Job, the Psalms, Isaiah and Daniel were also popularly distributed. The popularity of these works rested on how Barnes simplified Biblical criticism so that new developments in the field were made accessible to the general public. Barnes was the author of several other works, including Scriptural Views of Slavery (1846) and The Way of Salvation (1863). A collection of his theological works was published in Philadelphia in 1875.

In his famous 1852 oratory, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”, Frederick Douglass quoted Barnes as saying: “There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.”

In Barnes’ book The Church and Slavery (1857),Barnes excoriates slavery as evil and immoral, and calls for it to be dealt with from the pulpit “as other sins and wrongs are” (most pointedly in chapter VII, “The Duty of the Church at Large on the Subject of Slavery”).

While serving as pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, Barnes became the President of the Pennsylvania Bible Society (located at 7th and Walnut) in 1858 – a position he served until his death in 1870. He served at First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia until 1868. He was then granted the title Pastor Emeritus.

On the Millennium

There will be a state of things upon the earth as if they [of the “First Resurrection”] thus lived and were thus honored. Religion will no longer be trampled under foot, but will triumph. In all parts of the earth it will have the ascendency, as if the most eminent saints of past ages lived and reigned with the Son of God in his kingdom. A spiritual kingdom will be set up with the Son of God at the head of it, which will be a kingdom of eminent holiness, as if the saints of the best days of the church should come back to the earth and dwell upon it. The ruling influence in the world will be the religion of the Son of God, and the principles which have governed the most holy of his people.

Barnes’ Notes on Revelation 20:6

On the 1260 Years

The third date which has been assigned as the beginning of the Papacy is the grant of Pepin above referred to, 752 a.d. This grant conferred by Pepin was confirmed also by Charlemagne and his successors, and it was undoubtedly at this period that the Papacy began to assume its place among the sovereignties of Europe. In favor of this opinion – that this was properly the rise of the Papacy – the terminus a quo of prophecy, the following considerations may be urged:

(a) We have here a definite act – an act which is palpable and apparent, as characterizing the progress of this domination over men.

(b) We have here properly the beginning of the temporal dominion, or the first acknowledged exercise of that power in acts of temporal sovereignty – in giving laws, asserting dominion, swaying a temporal scepter, and wearing a temporal crown. All the acts before had been of a spiritual character, and all the deference to the Bishop of Rome had been of a spiritual nature. Henceforward, however, he was acknowledged as a temporal prince, and took his place as such among the crowned heads of Europe.

(c) This is properly the beginning of that mighty domination which the Pope wielded over Europe – a beginning, which, however small at first, ultimately became so powerful and so arrogant as to claim jurisdiction over all the kingdoms of the earth, and the right to absolve subjects from their allegiance, to lay kingdoms under interdict, to dispose of crowns, to order the succession of princes, to tax all people, and to dispose of all newly-discovered countries.

(d) This accords better with the prophecies than any other one event which has occurred in the world – especially with the prophecy of Daniel, of the springing up of the little horn, and the fact that that little horn plucked up three others of the ten into which the fourth kingdom was divided.

(e) And it should be added that this agrees with the idea all along held up in the prophecies, that this would be properly the fourth empire prolonged. The fifth empire or kingdom is to be the reign of the saints, or the reign of righteousness on the earth; the fourth extends down in its influences and power to that. As a matter of fact, this Roman power was thus concentrated in the Papacy. The form was changed, but it was the Roman power that was in the eye of the prophets, and this was contemplated under its various phases, as pagan and nominally Christian, until the reign of the saints should commence, or the kingdom of God should be set up. But it was only in the time of Stephen, and by the act of Pepin and Charlemagne, that this change occurred, or that this dominion of a temporal character was settled in the Papacy – and that the Pope was acknowledged as having this temporal power. This was consummated indeed in Hildebrand, or Gregory VII (Gibbon, iii. 353, iv. 363), but this mighty power properly had its origin in the time of Pepin.

–  Barnes’ Notes on Daniel 7:28

On Israel

And so – That is, in this manner; or when the great abundance of the Gentiles shall be converted, then all Israel shall be saved.

All Israel – All the Jews. It was a maxim among the Jews that “every Israelite should have part in the future age.” (Grotius.) The apostle applies that maxim to his own purpose; and declares the sense in which it would be true. He does not mean to say that every Jew of every age would be saved; for he had proved that a large portion of them would be, in his time, rejected and lost. But the time would come when, as a people, they would be recovered; when the nation would turn to God; and when it could be said of them that, as a nation, they were restored to the divine favor. It is not clear that he means that even then every individual of them would be saved, but the body of them; the great mass of the nation would be. Nor is it said when this would be. This is one of the things which “the Father hath put in his own power;” Act 1:7. He has given us the assurance that it shall be done to encourage us in our efforts to save them; and he has concealed the time when it shall be, lest we should relax our efforts, or feel that no exertions were needed to accomplish what must take place at a fixed time.

Barnes’ Notes on Romans 11:26

On the False Prophet

And out of the mouth of the false prophet – The word rendered “false prophet” – ψευδοπροφήτου pseudoprophētou – does not before occur in the Book of Revelation, though the use of the article would seem to imply that some well-known power or influence was referred to by this. Compare the notes on Rev 10:3. The word occurs in other places in the New Testament, Mat 7:15; Mat 24:11, Mat 24:24; Mar 13:22; Luk 6:26; Act 13:6; Pe2 2:1; Jo1 4:1; and twice elsewhere in the Book of Revelation, with the same reference as here, Rev 19:20; Rev 20:10. In both these latter places it is connected with the “beast:” “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet”; “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are.” It would seem, then, to refer to some power that was similar to that of the beast, and that was to share the same fate in the overthrow of the enemies of the gospel. As to the application of this, there is no opinion so probable as that it alludes to the Muhammedan power – not strictly the Turkish power, for that was to be “dried up,” or to diminish; but to the Muhammedan power as such, that was still to continue for a while in its vigor, and that was yet to exert a formidable influence against the gospel, and probably in some combination, in fact, if not in form, with paganism stud the papacy. The reasons for this opinion are:

(a) that this was referred to, in the former part of the book, as one of the formidable powers that would arise, and that would materially affect the destiny of the world – and it may be presumed that it would be again referred to in the account of the final consummation, see Rev 9:1-11;

(b) the name “false prophet” would, better than any other, describe that power, and would naturally suggest it in future times – for to no one that has ever appeared in our world could the name be so properly applied as to Muhammed; and,

(c) what is said will be found to agree with the facts in regard to that power, as, in connection with the papacy and with paganism, constituting the sum of the obstruction to the spread of the gospel around the world.

Barnes’ Notes on Revelation 16:13

Born/died: (1798 – 1870)

Related Works:  Notes on the Bible

Denomination: Presbyterian

Millennial view: Postmillennial

Terminus ad quo: Grant of Pepin (752). He also mentions the Edict of Justinian (533), the Decree of Phocas (606), and the “time of Hildebrand”, but considers the Grant of Pepin to be true rise of the Papacy.

Israel: Mass conversion

False Prophet: the “Muhammedan power”