Historicism interprets most of the prophecies as being fulfilled evenly throughout the history of the church by specific events. That is, the fulfillment of prophecy is not concentrated in a narrow block of time, either in the past or in the future. Rather, prophecy is fulfilled gradually throughout history.
For example, in Revelation 2-3, Jesus writes letters to seven churches in
Historicism became especially popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as many of the Protestants interpreted the book of Revelation as describing their struggle against the Roman church. Thus, the great harlot of Revelation 17 is the Catholic church. The pope is the antichrist.
Historicism was the dominant view during the Reformation and Puritan era. In fact, the original version of the Westminster Confession of Faith names the pope as the antichrist. Many of the greatest theologians in church history were Historicists, with Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards being two of such giants.
However, there are very few Historicists today. As the church has grown older, most have realized the arbitrariness of applying specific prophesies to contemporary situations. Thus, Historicism is by far the minority position today. As such, we will rarely interact with Historicism in our series on eschatology.