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Gimmick: “The Rapture was never taught until 1830” – Gotcha!

Dr. Mike Johnston

Claiming the PreTrib rapture wasn’t taught until 1830 is by far the most abused allegation in the rapture antagonist anthology. The problems this presents are myriad, I’ll boil them down to two: To begin with, it’s a lie; but even it were true, it assails prophecy in Daniel whereby God promises in the last days to reveal to us truth previously hidden. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased(Daniel 12:4).

“And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  (35)  And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed … And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.  (10)  Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand(Daniel 11:33, 35; 12:9-10).

My own stubbornness and stupidity

After getting saved, I began learning about the end times, tribulation, and the Antichrist. I also learned about a supposed satanic plot known as the PreTrib rapture that allegedly surfaced in the early 19th Century. In preparation for battling this hoax, my mentors armed me with tested “gotcha gimmicks” designed to deter and destroy the opposition. One of the most compelling involved a Southern Baptist evangelist named John L. Bray who offered $500 to anyone with evidence that the PreTrib rapture teaching existed before 1830. While the shock value of this tactic was often the determining factor in rapture debates, it turned out to be a bald-faced lie my stubbornness kept me fighting against for many years.

As it turned out, Bray actually discovered a writing rebutting his previous thinking. He wrote, “… my own research indicated that it was Emmanuel Lacunza, a Jesuit Catholic priest, who [wrote the] book The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty, first taught this theory.” [1]

Although Bray’s honesty is admirable, he was after all an ardent PreTrib antagonist determined to undermine the PreTrib hope. Therefore, he re-dated his stunt and renewed the reward, “I offered $500 to anyone who would give a documented statement earlier than Lacunza’s time which taught a two-stage coming of Christ separated by a stated period of time.”

Nevertheless, he was wrong again.

It isn’t clear whether Bray was lamenting or lauding the new evidence in the following admission, “Now I have the Photostat copies of a book published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1788 but written in 1742-1744 in England, which taught the preTribulation rapture before Lacunza.” [2]

Throughout history, there have been numerous gimmicks like Bray’s used against the PreTrib rapture. Unfortunately many have gone uncontested by rapture believers if they’d just done their homework. Thankfully, today we have the research data available to us from scholars sharing their findings on the internet verifying for us the fact that the PreTrib rapture was taught until the 4th century insurgence of Augustinian Amillennialism/Postmillennialism replaced it. 

Irenaeus – 130-202 AD

Irenaeus taught two separate comings of Christ – a rapture followed years later by the revelation. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp. Polycarp learned his Christian faith from the apostle John, “…the disciple whom Jesus loved…” (John 21:7). As well as writing the gospel that bears his name and a number of early letters, John wrote the Book of Revelation. Irenaeus later became bishop of the church in Lyons, France and is famous for his five volume treatise, Against Heresies, which described and challenged all false teaching from the emerging cults of his day.

Irenaeus believed in the three and a half year reign of the Antichrist as ruler of the world before the Second Coming of Christ. He also believed in a literal millennial reign of Christ on earth following the Second Coming and in the resurrection of the just. Irenaeus also believed in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church occuring apparently about mid-way in. In  Against Heresies 5:29 he wrote: “And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, ‘There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.’ For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which, when they overcome they are crowned with incorruption.”

Note Irenaeus’ use of the “caught up.” It is the exact same Rapture terminology used in 1 Thessalonians 4. The word used is 1 Thessalonians 4, is “harpazo”, meaning to be “caught up.” Irenaeus believed that the Rapture of the Church occurred prior to Israel’s Tribulation. 

Ephraem the Syrian – 306-373 AD

As early as the 4th century a PreTrib rapture exponent nicknamed Pseudo-Ephraem wrote this: “All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.” [3]

Actually, Ephraem the Syrian was not alone in interpreting Bible prophecy literally in his day.

He was living one generation from the era of Augustine (354-430), whenever there was a dramatic change. When Ephraem died in 373, Augustine was 19 years old. It was in the era of Augustine that allegoricalism widely replaced the previous method of interpretation. Prior to this, it was common among Bible believers to interpret prophecy literally. They believed that Christ would return literally (and imminently), bind Satan, and establish a literal millennial kingdom (see end time’s kingdom in Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14) on earth.

This is attested to by scholars and historians:

William Newell says: “The early Church for 300 years looked for the imminent return of our Lord to reign, and they were right” (Newell, Revelation).

Phillip Schaaf said, “… the most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age [prior to

AD 325] is the prominent chiliasm, or millennarianism, that is the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years, before the general resurrection and judgment” (History of the Christian Church, 8 vols, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1960, 2:614).

Dr. Henry Thiessen says, “It is clear … that the Fathers held not only the pre-millennial view of Christ’s coming, but also regarded that coming as imminent. The Lord had taught them to expect His return at any moment, and so they looked for Him to come in their day. Not only so, but they also taught His personal return as being immediately, with the exception of the Alexandrian Fathers, who also rejected other fundamental doctrines” (Thiessen, Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 477).

Dr. Thiessen further states: “The early Church was keenly interested in the doctrine of the return of Christ. The Apostles had held out the possibility of His returning in their day, and the next generations kept alive the “blessed hope” as something that was imminent. Not until the third century was there any great exception to this rule; but from the time of Constantine onward this truth began to be rejected until it was finally entirely set aside.”[4]

Although these and many more PreTrib writings exist, you’ll NEVER get ardent PreTrib rapture antagonists to admit it or be honest with their content since the crux of their hook or crook book campaign is based on allegations of a satanic conspiracy occurring in the early 19th century between a group of unlikely victims no one has ever linked together.  (see Appendix[i])

Paradoxically, while their battle boasts strict Biblical auspices it hasn’t been waged sola scriptura. It has risen instead on the back of untruthful accusations disguised as “scholarship” from disgruntled men conflating God’s plan for Israel with His plan for the church that over time has proven to be part of an irrational but profitable scheme with impure motives first surfacing about 40 years ago.

A Miscreant named MacPherson

The anti-PreTrib conspiracy begins with a neurotic[5] rapture-loathing news reporter named Dave MacPherson who in the 1970s began taking and twisting into books the undocumented claims of Textus Receptus enemy Samuel Tregelles. At this writing, MacPherson [6] has parlayed his hatred for the rapture into a lucrative book franchise. Using the same material over and over but under separate titles like “The Incredible Cover-Up”, [7] “The Great Rapture Hoax”, “The Rapture Plot”, MacPherson alleges – without indisputable proof – that the PreTrib rapture is a pervasive fraud that didn’t exist until 1830 when Margaret MacDonald [8] – a demon possessed charismatic member of Edward Irving’s[9] Catholic Apostolic Church[10] – conjured it up in a vision. [11] Then, according to MacPherson’s mythos, dispensational scholar John Nelson Darby pilfered it [12] for CI Scofield to publish in his reference Bible as part of a sinister plot the two cooked up to deceive Christians for no apparent reason other than the indescribable joy both men received from misleading people.[13]

The problems MacPherson’s misrepresentations present are deep, wide, and insurmountable. If there was any evidence anywhere linking Darby [14] and Scofield to MacDonald or her charismatic trance and utterances, researchers would have discovered it; especially John Bray who searched every nook and cranny and ultimately penned this,

“[Darby] rejected those practices, and he already had his new view of the Lord coming FOR THE SAINTS (as contrasted to the later coming to the earth) which he had believed since 1827. It was the coupling of this “70th week of Daniel” prophecy and its futuristic interpretation, with the teaching of the “secret rapture,” that gave to us the completed “Pre-Tribulation Secret Rapture” teaching as it has now been taught for many years. . . . (and) makes it impossible for me to believe that Darby got his Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching from Margaret MacDonald’s vision in 1830. He was already a believer in it since 1827, as he plainly said.”[15]

The fact is, no one – including Tregelles, MacPherson, nor any of their lackey loyalists – has ever provided a shred of credible proof linking Darby or Scofield directly to plagiarizing MacDonald or to any of these appalling activities. Researcher Frank Marotta adds this: “The importance MacPherson places on The Rapture Plot reveals his spiritual condition. … It is significant that MacPherson is the lone “historian” who has argued a connection between Macdonald and Darby. Considering that there have been numerous historical examinations of both the Irvingites and the Brethren, yet MacPherson stands alone in exposing the “plot,” is rather a testimony to polemical bias, not the facts. Those anti-pretribulationists who have adopted MacPherson’s revision have done so merely on the basis of his word, not as a result of original research.” [16]

Commenting on the entire farce, Dr. John Walvoord wrote, “The whole controversy as aroused by Dave MacPherson’s claims has so little supporting evidence … one wonders how he can write his book with a straight face.” Walvoord continues, “PreTribulationists should be indebted to Dave MacPherson for exposing the facts, namely, that there is no proof that MacDonald … originated the preTribulation rapture teaching.” [17]

The outcome of MacPherson’s ruse reminds me of the book of Esther. Haman was a pompous prevaricating political insider who over estimated his value to the king. He was also a rabid anti-Semite who in a fit of rage ordered gallows built to lynch his nemesis, Esther’s uncle Mordecai. Ironically, once the king discovered Haman’s lies, the nefarious accommodations he’d built for Mordecai served quite adequately to hang Haman and his household instead. Divine reciprocity at its best!

In my opinion, MacPherson did the same thing using his mendacity as the gallows to marginalize or destroy hope in the PreTrib rapture. Surely as a seasoned reporter, he must have expected the scrutiny from PreTrib scholars he received from Dr. Walvoord and others [18]. However, how could he foresee the backlash from fellow post trib journalists he thought would cover for him? After examining his spurious allegations, they did the unthinkable; they stood him up by unmasking his deception in full view of everyone paying attention. [19]

We should do no less.

[1] John L. Bray, The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching (Lakeland, FL: John L. Bray Ministry, 1982), 31.  Lacunza is a reference to the Jesuit Priest Manual de Lacunza (1731–1801), who wrote under the pseudonym of Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra, a converted Jew, The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty.

[2] Source: http://www.raptureready.com/rr-margaret-mcdonald.html

[3] Pseudo-Ephraem (c. 374-627). Source:

http://www.grantjeffrey.com/article/examining_an_ancient.htm

[4] Dr. Henry C. Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing, 1977, p.441

[5] If you‘ve read his materials you would know what I’m talking about. MacPherson actually blames proponents of the PreTrib rapture for all of his misfortunes, beginning with his expulsion from Bible college, a drunken binge in Mexico, a car accident, his mom’s death, his sister’s inability to have more children, the demonic possession of his dog, and all his father’s woes.

https://www.raptureready.com/who/Dave: MacPherson.html

[6] MacPherson’s allegations are outlandish to say the least. He incessantly pounds the drum that all who teach a PreTrib rapture are somehow culpable in the death of millions of Christians worldwide (especially the Chinese) that had been taught the rapture and suffered martyrdom! The fact is, Christians of every age- whether or not they have believed the PreTrib rapture- have suffered persecution, including today at the hands of islamic savages. While MacPherson deems it unfair that God would spare us what others were not spared begs the notion God will have to resurrect every person in history who was not vigorously and viciously persecuted or martyred. This is simply one of their most desperate- and may I add, deceptive- attempts at discrediting the PreTrib position. MacPherson and his minions should be ashamed of themselves.

[7] The outrageous nature of MacPherson’s prevarications have increased over time as books emerge under his name charging new cover ups that unbiased scholarship finds laughably ludicrous. Frank Marotta in http://www.according2prophecy.org/macphers.html writes: His latest book is The Rapture Plot. It claims to reveal “. . . the most astounding historical revisionism of the past century” (p. 138). The plot is that brethren scholar William Kelly used his periodical The Bible Treasury to conceal that J.N. Darby took the pretribulation rapture from the Irvingites. This was accomplished by alleged misrepresentations of Irvingite prophetic views in Kelly’s 1889-1890 articles on the Catholic Apostolic Church. In these same articles Kelly is alleged to have created a smoke screen by emphasizing Irvingite heterodoxy. Then in 1903 (13 years later), having discredited the Irvingites, Kelly was able to credit Mr. Darby with pretribulationism in his article, “The Rapture of the Saints, Who Suggested It, or rather on what Scripture?” This “plot” is considerably more dull than his Margaret Macdonald material and is equally lacking in any substance. That an orthodox Christian such as William Kelly should write articles exposing a contemporary heterodox sect should surprise us no more than a Christian periodical of today printing articles exposing Mormonism. Nor is it shocking that an ardent pretribulationist as Kelly would defend the history and doctrine of the rapture. We fail to see any plot at all.

[8] The rise in belief in the pre-tribulation rapture is often wrongly attributed to a 15-year-old Scottish-Irish girl named Margaret McDonald who was of the first to receive a (alleged) spiritual baptism under a Pentecostal awakening in Scotland. In 1830, she had a vision of the end times which describes a post-tribulation view of the rapture that was first published in 1840. It was published again in 1861, but two important passages demonstrating a post-tribulation view were removed to encourage confusion concerning the timing of the rapture. The two removed segments were, “This is the fiery trial which is to try us. – It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus” and “The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept” [Hommel, Jason. “Margaret MacDonald’s Vision” – Jason Hommel’s Bible Prophecy Study on the Pre Tribulation Rapture. Grass Valley, California. Retrieved 23 January 2011. Quotes the account in The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets In the Catholic Apostolic Church (1861).]

[9] Edward Irving was a Scottish clergyman, generally regarded as the main figure behind the foundation of the Catholic Apostolic Church which believed in modern day apostles and sign gifts. In other words they were charismatics. [THE TRIBULATION OF CONTROVERSY: A REVIEW ARTICLE Timothy C. F. Stunt]

[10] Here’s a few problems. First, Miss MacDonald’s “prophecy” doesn’t contain any elements related to a pre-trib rapture [Read her prophecy and you’ll find she believed in several raptures and that the church would suffer under Antichrist]. Therefore, in order to get his theory in line with the narrative, he had to conflate the two accounts of Margaret’s vision. Second, no one has ever demonstrated from actual facts of history that Darby was influenced by MacDonald’s “prophecy” even if it had contained pre-trib elements – which it certainly did not. There is evidence that Darby heard about Miss MacDonald’s strange vision and labeled it demonic. Third, according to biographer historian Roy Huebner R. A. Huebner, “Precious Truths Revived and Defended Through J. N. Darby”, Vol. 1 (Morganville, N. J.: Present Truth Publishers, 1991), Darby clearly held to an early form of the PreTrib rapture by January 1827. This is a full three years before MacPherson’s claim of 1830. John Walvoord has said, “The whole controversy as aroused by Dave MacPherson’s claims has so little supporting evidence … one wonders how he can write his book with a straight face. Pretribulationists should be indebted to Dave MacPherson for exposing the facts, namely, that there is no proof that MacDonald … originated the pretribulation rapture teaching.” More information available at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret: MacDonald: (visionary).

[11] “It is only with some difficulty that one can identify what MacPherson calls her ‘pretribulationist’ teaching in the transcript of 1840, and when in 1861 Norton quoted from her prophecy he omitted the passage which referred to ‘the fiery trial’ which ‘will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus’—a passage which clearly assumes that Christians will go through the tribulation.” [THE TRIBULATION OF CONTROVERSY: A REVIEW ARTICLE Timothy C. F. Stunt]

[12] If Margaret MacDonald is the originator of the PreTrib rapture, why are there no records of her contesting Darby’s theft?

[13] This is another desperate and disingenuous deception from the other side. Roy Huebner documented from Darby’s writings beginning as early as 1827 that he was teaching a PreTrib rapture. Huebner provides clarification and evidence that Darby was not influenced by a fifteen-yea-old girl (Margaret Macdonald), Lacunza, Edward Irving, or the Irvingites. These are all said by the detractors of Darby and the pre-trib rapture to be bridges which led to Darby’s thought. Instead, he demonstrates that Darby’s understanding of the pre-trib rapture was the product of the development of his personal interactive thought with the text of Scripture as he, his friends, and dispensationalists have long contended. Darby’s pre-trib and dispensational thoughts, says Huebner, were developed from the following factors: 1) “he saw from Isaiah 32 that there was a different dispensation coming . . . that Israel and the Church were distinct.”13 2) “During his convalescence JND learned that he ought daily to expect his Lord’s return.”14 3) “In 1827 JND understood the fall of the church. . . ‘the ruin of the Church.'”15 4) Darby also was beginning to see a gap of time between the rapture and the second coming by 1827.16 5) Darby, himself, said in 1857 that he first started understanding things relating to the pre-trib Rapture “thirty years ago.” “With that fixed point of reference, Jan. 31, 1827,” declares Huebner, we can see that Darby “had already understood those truths upon which the pre-tribulation rapture hinges.” R. A. Huebner, Precious Truths Revived and Defended Through J. N. Darby, Vol. 1 (Morganville, N. J.: Present Truth Publishers, 1991; p24).

[14] Excuse my reiteration of some of this material, but it is vital that you recognize and refute the prejudicial arguments these people have invented. Brethren writer, Roy A. Huebner claims and documents his belief that J.N. Darby first began to believe in the pre-trib rapture and develop his dispensational thinking while convalescing from a riding accident during December 1826 and January 1827.12 If this is true, then all of the origin-of-the-rapture-conspiracy-theories fall to the ground in a heap of speculative rubble. Darby would have at least a three-year jump on any who would have supposedly influenced his thought, making it impossible for all the “influence” theories to have any credibility. Huebner provides clarification and evidence that Darby was not influenced by a fifteen-yea-old girl (Margaret Macdonald), Lacunza, Edward Irving, or the Irvingites. These are all said by the detractors of Darby and the pre-trib rapture to be bridges which led to Darby’s thought. Instead, he demonstrates that Darby’s understanding of the pre-trib rapture was the product of the development of his personal interactive thought with the text of Scripture as he, his friends, and dispensationalists have long contended. Darby’s pre-trib and dispensational thoughts, says Huebner, were developed from the following factors: 1) “he saw from Isaiah 32 that there was a different dispensation coming . . . that Israel and the Church were distinct.” 2) “During his convalescence JND learned that he ought daily to expect his Lord’s return.” 3) “In 1827 JND understood the fall of the church. . . ‘the ruin of the Church.'” 4) Darby also was beginning to see a gap of time between the rapture and the second coming by 1827. 5) Darby, himself, said in 1857 that he first started understanding things relating to the pre-trib Rapture “thirty years ago.” “With that fixed point of reference, Jan. 31, 1827,” declares Huebner, we can see that Darby “had already understood those truths upon which the pre-tribulation rapture hinges.” [Dr Thomas Ice-  https://www.raptureready.com/featured/ice/tt11.html%5D

[15] Bray, The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching, pp. 24-25, 28.

[16] Quoted from: http://www.according2prophecy.org/macphers.html

[17] Walvoord, The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation, p. 47.

[18] Drs. Thomas Ice and Gerald Stanton among them.

[19] Post tribulation rapture author Ernest Sandeen wrote: “This seems to be a groundless and pernicious charge. Neither Irving nor any member of the Albury group advocated any doctrine resembling the secret rapture. . . . Since the clear intention of this charge is to discredit the doctrine by attributing its origin to fanaticism rather than Scripture, there seems little ground for giving it any credence. Others include Robert Reiter, Ian Rennie, William Bell, John Bray, and Timothy Weber to name a few. Source: http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/part-2-myths-of-origin-rapture

Appendix [i]
The PreTrib Rapture Teaching is NOT NEW

 

After author and apologist Doc Marquis had his fill of this feckless flimflam he wrote, “The blatant lie (knowingly or unknowingly) that the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church is a new concept that can only be traced back to 1830 is simply that … a lie! I shall now present to you good people another literary list and, this one will prove, once and for all, that the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church is “not” a new concept, but was a teaching that came directly from the Apostles themselves (dating back) “before” 1830” . . . to the 1st Century A.D.”

1) 1792 – Thomas Scott – he taught that the righteous will be carried to Heaven where they will be secure until the time of the judgment is over.

2) 1763 – James Macknight – he also taught that the righteous will be carried to heaven until the judgment is over with.

3) 1748 – John Gill (Commentary on the New Testament) – teaches of the imminent return of Christ, firstly in Rapture, and then He will return again to judge the earth (Armageddon).

4) 1744 – Morgan Edwards (founder of the Ivy League School, Brown University) wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” beliefs.

5) 1738 – Phillip Doddrige (Commentary on the New Testament) teaches along the same lines of John Gill; a “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” perspective.

6) 1687 – Peter Jurieu – (“Approaching Deliverance of the Church”) Christ would return during the Rapture and take His saints to Heaven and later return at the Battle of Armageddon.

7) 1674 – 1748 – Isaac Watts (known as the Father of the English Hymn) wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” belief. (As a side note, Isaac Watts was solely responsible for writing over 1,000 Christian hymns if I recall the numbers correctly. Study his life because it was truly a miraculous one by all definitions of the word).

8) 1674 – Thomas Collier – makes reference in the belief to the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture”.

9) 1532 – 1591 – Francisco Rivera wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church beliefs

10) 431 – 1500 – Any mention of Pre-Tribulation (Millennial) Rapture of the Church perspectives are outlawed by the Catholic Church and deemed heretical and punishable by death!!!

11) 431 – The Council of Ephesus; the Catholic Church decrees and condemns Pre-Millennial views as heresy. Books and such are destroyed or altered.
The following all wrote of the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church:

12) 354 – 430 – Augustine, Bishop of North Africa

13) 306 – 373 – Ephraem of Nisibus

14) ? – 204 – Victorinus, Bishop of Petau

15) 200 – 258 – Cyrian

16) 170 – 236 – Hippolytus of Rome

17) 150 – 272 – Apocalypse of Elijah (an Extra-Biblical book)

18) 120 – 202 – Ireaneus (“Against Heresies”)

19) 36 – 108 – Ignatius of Antioch, the Third Bishop and Patriarch of Antioch (who as a student of John the Apostle) – His “Letters of Extra-Biblical works are:

  1. Letter to the Ephesians
  2. Letter to the Magnesians
  3. Letter to the Trallians
  4. Letter to the Romans
  5. Letter to the Philadelphians
  6. Letter to the Smyrnaeans
  7. Letter to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna

20). ?– 99 A.D. – Clement of Rome, “Letter to the Corinthians” also known as “I Clement” (an Extra-Biblical book).

 

 

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  1. wigglyhashashin7777
    May 16, 2017 at 12:35 am

    No Ireanous didn’t teach rapture it’s quoting out of context. Notice how he said it was the last context of the rightous? That assumes the rightous are there before the tribulation starts. Also he said the anti Christ will put the church to flight BEFORE he made the statement you quoted.

    • May 16, 2017 at 7:00 am

      You are technically correct. He taught two comings, which our opponents also sneer at. Thank you for the input.

      • wigglyhashashin7777
        May 16, 2017 at 8:42 am

        No acumtually he taught one coming

      • May 16, 2017 at 9:25 am

        We must be reading separate quotes brother.

        Irenaeus actually taught two comings of Christ. Study carefully:

        The Ante-Nicene Fathers, the following quotes are found from Irenaeus: Page 558: “And therefore, when in the end the church shall suddenly be caught up from this, it is said, “There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.”

        This is in the context of a discussion about the Antichrist. The tribulation comes after the church is caught up. Here is the pre-Tribulation Rapture spoken of by the early church Fathers!

        On page 560 we find: “But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the Lake of Fire; but bringing in for the righteous times of the kingdom, that is the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, the “many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

        In the former he discusses the harpadzo (suddenly caught up) Rapture of believers, but in the next discusses the Revelation of Christ to Israel Christians call the second coming.

  2. wigglyhashashin7777
    May 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    If Ireanous did teach pre trib no one would claim Darby invented it. His work wasn’t some obscure text and was studied by many scholars long before darby.also your quote is an out of context citation.

    • May 16, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      This is the context as I have it. Where is yours? – all you have done thus far disparage my comments. I’ll do more research and respond once I have your evidence, ok?

      Nevertheless, YOU ARE WRONG. He definitely taught two comings of Christ; one about mid way called the caught up; the final was the Revelation (aka 2nd Coming). I’ll await your proof in context with source since I’m no longer convinced by your opinion 🙂

      BTW, rapture haters loathe Darby with unfettered devotion. They have the evidence Darby didn’t “invent” the PreTrib rapture, their shtick is claiming he stole it from a Charismatic girl in 1830, passed it off as his own, and shared it with CI Scofield who published it. All of it without evidence that would hold up in a court of law. Here’s a more lenghty treatise explaining their defenseless allegations:

      Considering the incalculable number of Christians holding forth the PreTrib rapture as the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), this allegation is serious. I know because I’ve witnessed its damage first hand. However, while I was for a period personally deluded by it, over time I began spotting inconsistencies warranting a closer investigation leading to this ironic summary:

      This 1830 rapture hoax allegation is itself a recently concocted giant hoax.

      I discovered the ruse was deliberately designed by a disgruntled and delusional rapture-loathing anti-Semitic huckster named Dave MacPherson (DM). A quick survey of the internet reveals MacPherson’s culpability in the vast majority of vicious attacks against the PreTrib rapture. His intense hatred for the rapture seems to be a psychosis that has clouded his ability to reason, which drives his conclusions all based on lumping together verses connected with Christ’s PreTrib rapture any moment expectation with the post-trib Revelation extravaganza. If his followers would take the time to check his unfounded ex-cathedra “snarkastic” pronouncements many of them would quit enriching him, cease following him, and thus his multi book fantasy franchise would probably die of natural causes.

      Let’s be clear. Dave MacPherson’s writings are beyond amicable, and instead reveal him as an acrimonious avaricious gainsayer. While he has every right to state his own opinion, he does not have the right to invent his own facts in the process. Where I come from, that isn’t scholarship. That’s a scandal. How his conscience has allowed him to continue this charade four decades indicates the kind of tree the fruit is coming from.

      The seducing spirit

      “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

      Underwritten by hate and hyperbole, DM blasts rapture believers for every evil imaginable, including millions of deaths in China and mass murders that will occur on earth in the future . He also holds rapture believers responsible for his sister’s barrenness, his drunken binge in Mexico, a freak car accident, the demon possession of his dog, all he and his father’s ministry woes, and a number of other outrageous things any sane person would consider out of the realm of normality. Yet it was this gnawing acrimony 40 years ago that inspired DM to launch an unprecedented hateful multi-volume fantasy franchise to scuttle the PreTrib rapture in 1973 with a book entitled The Unbelievable Pre–Trib Origin. Since that time this same manuscript has been republished under several other equally sensationalist titles.

      MacPherson’s shtick is conjecture used as a cudgel to represent the rapture as a pervasive fraud with an elaborate cover up hiding a dubious origin he alleges didn’t exist until 1830. According to MacPherson, that was the year a demon-possessed charismatic member of Edward Irving’s Catholic Apostolic Church by the name of Margaret MacDonald conjured it up in a vision; recorded and published later by her apostolic husband Robert Norton thereby launching the hoax. In Kept from the Hour, Dr. Gerald Stanton makes this observation about the intent of MacPherson’s work: “It will immediately be apparent that his book titles are provocative, if not abusive. There has been no “cover-up” or “hoax,” for Pretrib authors and leaders have arrived at their conclusion from Biblical exegesis rather than from any presumed history of the doctrine, and most certainly with no desire to defraud. Furthermore, to attack the morality and integrity of fellow believers just to further an eschatological opinion is a disgrace to the Name and cause of Christ.”

      Indispensable to the drama – and extensively villainized – is his nemesis John Nelson Darby. DM characterizes this dispensational scholar as a compromising theological thug who jettisoned his integrity to pilfer what he’d publicly labeled a demonic vision so he could personally use it and then propagate it to the world through CI Scofield’s reference Bible. All rumored by DM to be part of an arcane scheme Darby and Scofield apparently cooked up in some dimly lit room for no earthly reason other than the pure joy they each felt knowing they were deceiving people. Now, the seriousness of these unfounded allegations notwithstanding, the question here for fair-minded people refusing to trust without verifying is simple: Does this “research” sound realistic or rational? A coalition of credible theologians didn’t think so.

      Representing every rapture position scholars thoroughly investigated DM’s claims and found them to be untoward, unrealistic, and unsupportable. Not solely based on their outlandish overtures; but the fact they rely almost exclusively on personal “data” virtually non-existent before MacPherson circulated it. The lack of credible evidence notwithstanding, MacPherson minions are grateful for his untethered imagination.

      Unfriendly facts

      Here are a few facts that are very unfriendly to MacPherson’s contentions.

      To begin with, Miss MacDonald’s “prophecy” isn’t PreTrib at all. If you read it you’ll find she believed in several raptures and most importantly, that the church would suffer under Antichrist [this isn’t PreTrib by any stretch of the imagination]. Here’s an excerpt of her “prophetic utterance”: “I saw the people of God in an awfully dangerous situation. Now will the wicked one be revealed with all power…It will be a fiery trial…Nothing but what is of God will stand…I said, Now shall the awful sight of a false Christ be seen on this earth; and nothing but Christ in US can detect this awful attempt of the enemy to deceive…This is the trial through which those are to pass, who will be counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man…The trial of the Church is from Antichrist … Oh be filled with the Spirit – have the light of God within you, that you may DETECT Satan…” This was the unedited first recording of Miss MacDonald’s vision published in 1840. Note that she warned the church about contending with Antichrist NOT escaping from him in a PreTrib rapture. What you may not know is her vision was a slightly redacted in another version that appeared twenty-one years later. This edited version is the one DM seized upon in order to arrive at his crafty conclusion.
      If Darby stole an idea originating with MacDonald why is she and Irving and her husband Robert Norton silent about it? The fact is DM while is expressly livid with the PreTrib rapture, no one – including himself, Robert Cameron or Samuel Tregelles (see Excursus on Tregelles ) nor any of their cronies – has ever provided a shred of credible proof demonstrating Darby or Scofield stole the rapture from under Miss MacDonald’s nose. It becomes clear once again MacPherson has connected a series of dots he himself created.

      The fact is, documentation substantiates that Pastor Darby was formulating his belief in a PreTrib rapture in 1827. According to biographer historian Roy Huebner R. A. Huebner, “Precious Truths Revived and Defended Through J. N. Darby”, Vol. 1 (Morganville, N. J.: Present Truth Publishers, 1991), Darby clearly held to an early form of the PreTrib rapture by January 1827. This is a full three years before DM’s claim of 1830. This was also the learned opinion of rapture opponent John Bray. Since this disproves an 1830 rapture awakening by Darby – the core of DM’s contention – why hasn’t he pulled his books from the market and issued an apology? Could it be avarice; the underlying motive he incessantly tar brushes PreTrib writers with?

      Although evidence is not favorable to Dave MacPherson’s rantings that has not stopped either him or his protégés from turning their backs to the inconvenient truth in order to fill their books and blogs with a bibliographical daisy chain of narrative conspirator’s invariably leading back to MacPherson.

      It becomes apparent as you study Dave MacPherson’s rantings that he is much more skilled at embellishing the truth than in establishing it. This is equivalent to dealing cards from the bottom of the deck. This trick thankfully has become more apparent through the years, as Bible scholars have examined his contrived allegations of collusion between Darby and MacDonald. German author Max S. Weremchuk has produced a comprehensive biography on Darby entitled John Nelson Darby: A Biography. “Having read MacPherson’s book . . .” says Weremchuk, “I find it impossible to make a just comparison between what Miss MacDonald ‘prophesied’ and what Darby taught. It appears that the wish was the father of the idea.”

      Another staunch researcher Pastor Billy Crone arrived at the same conclusion after traveling abroad trying to uncover any truth that Darby pilfered the rapture as alleged by MacPherson. He also affirmed there is NONE to be found. A highly suspicious Plymouth Brethren researcher Frank Marotta put it in perspective I think, “It is significant that Dave MacPherson is the lone ‘historian’ who has argued a connection between MacDonald and Darby. Considering that there have been numerous historical examinations of both the Irvingites and the Brethren, and DM stands alone in exposing the “plot,” is rather a testimony to polemical bias, not the facts. Those anti-pretribulationists who have adopted DM’s revision have done so merely on the basis of his word, not as a result of original research.”

      Even Hank Hanegraff agrees with the testimonial evidence: “According to Darby himself, however, his dispensational doctrines originated neither from an ecstatic utterance in Edward Irving’s congregation nor from the vision of a Scottish lassie named Margaret MacDonald. Rather, they evolved from the hypothesis that Scripture is replete with two distinct stories concerning two distinct people for whom God has two distinct plans.”

      So where did Darby get his rapture theology? Plymouth Brethren F.F. Bruce – no friend of the PreTrib position – I believe is very close to exact truth by stating it was “in the air in the 1820s and 1830s among eager students of unfulfilled prophecy; (therefore) direct dependence by Darby on Margaret Macdonald is unlikely.” (F. F. Bruce, Review of The “Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin” in The Evangelical Quarterly, (January – March 1975), p. 58).

      Roy A. Huebner considers Dave MacPherson’s charges as “Using slander that J. N. Darby took the (truth of the) pretribulation rapture from those very opposing, demon-inspired utterances.” He goes on to conclude that Dave MacPherson essentially had confused the statements of a number of people in a rush to go to print without solid research confirmation. There is much the reader is not aware of and the writings of dozens of theologians would take more time than we can take here to refute the writings of journalist Dave MacPherson.

      The late Dr. John Walvoord assessed it this way, “Any careful student of Darby soon discovers that he did not get his eschatological views from men, but rather from his doctrine of the church and the body of Christ, a concept no one claims was revealed supernaturally to Irving or MacDonald. Darby’s views undoubtedly were gradually formed, but they were theologically and Biblically based rather than derived from Irving’s pre-Pentecostal group.”

      To call the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position as being “Satanic”, as Rosenthal has repeatedly done, does not help in a thorough and comprehensive scholarship to establish the truth of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching. Web sites that persist in repeating the Rosenthal/Van Kampen/MacPherson lies make themselves complicit with perpetuating falsehoods and polarization on the issue where people simply tune out. When the likes of these folks make false charges about the history and origin of the Pre-Tribulation view they further rely on confused teachers and advocates like SDA Mark Wohlberg and now Carl Gallup. They know, and count on it, by stating that Margaret MacDonald and John Nelson Darby are responsible for the Pre-Tribulation Rapture “lie”, few people would ever go and do their own research of church history to see if that it was true.

      I’ll quote again the late Dr. John Walvoord. In his book, The Rapture Question: Revised and Enlarged Edition (1979), Dr. Walvoord has an extended discussion of the Posttrib’s historical argument which includes five criticisms of MacPherson’s position (150-57). In brief, he does not prove any “cover up” for the Pretrib view is based on biblical exegesis and not upon the presumed history of the doctrine. The allegations of Tregelles are without support, and he was obviously a prejudiced witness. His quotations from Margaret Macdonald and Edward Irving prove that they were not pretribulational. There is no evidence that Darby derived his views from such a source, but rather from the study of the Bible itself and from his conclusion that the Church is the body of Christ. “Under the circumstance,” says Walvoord, “it would seem that common honesty would call for Dave MacPherson to write another book confessing that his entire point of view has no basis in fact as far as MacDonald and Irving are concerned”.

      Dr. Walvoord’s ultimate observation tells it all, “The whole controversy as aroused by DM’s claims has so little supporting evidence … one wonders how he can write his book with a straight face. Pretribulationists should be indebted to DM for exposing the facts, namely, that there is no proof that MacDonald … originated the pretribulation rapture teaching.”

      The following links provide additional research information from Biblical scholars debunking everything MacPherson has imagined in his unfounded tirades against the PreTrib rapture.

      MacPherson’s Evidence Examined

      The following links provide additional research information from Biblical scholars who have thoroughly researched and refuted everything MacPherson has thrown against the wall during his last four decade tirade against the blessed hope of the PreTrib rapture.

      • Church, JR (deceased) Founder of Prophecy in the News
      https://prophecyinthenews.com/articles/pretribulation-rapture-taught-by-early-church/
      • Ice, Dr. Thomas: Director of the PreTrib Research Center
      http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/myths-of-origin-pretribulationism-part-1
      http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/rapture-myths
      • Examining a PreTrib Rapture Statement
      http://www.grantjeffrey.com/article/examining_an_ancient.htm
      • Marotta, Frank: Brethren scholar
      http://www.according2prophecy.org/macphers.html
      • Missler, Dr. Chuck: Byzantine Text Discovery: Ephraem The Syrian
      http://www.khouse.org/articles/1995/39/
      • Reagan, Dr. David: Director of Lamb & Lion Ministries
      http://christinprophecy.org/articles/in-defense-of-the-pre-tribulation-rapture/
      https://www.raptureforums.com/rapture/origin-pre-tribulational-rapture/
      • Strandberg, Todd: Director of Rapture Ready
      http://www.raptureready.com/faq-did-dave-macpherson-invent-the-false-history-of-the-pr-trib-rapture/
      • Stunt, Timothy CF: Brethren scholar
      http://brethrenhistory.org/qwicsitePro/php/docsview.php?docid=415
      • Wilkinson, Dr. Paul: Brethren scholar
      http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/left-behind-or-led-astrayexposed-long-version

      Anti-PreTrib proponents often represent us as stubborn and stupid for believing in the imminent rapture. Let’s contrast the two positions. Evidence notwithstanding, IF Dave MacPherson is right, the PreTrib rapture is a lie invented by Satan who fooled a very impressive list of scholars into believing it and teaching it: JN Darby, CI Scofield, DL Moody, RA Torrey, Clarence Larkin, Lewis Sperry Chafer, William R. Newell, J. Vernon McGee, Lehman Strauss, Jack Van Impe, Merrill Unger, Dave Reagan, Sir Robert Anderson, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Dave Hunt, Noah Hutchings, J. Dwight Pentecost, Zola Levitt, Dave Breese, Jimmy DeYoung, AC Gaebelein, MR DeHaan, JR Church, HA Ironside, Gary Stearman, Tommy Ice, Hal Lindsey, Ed Hindson, Grant Jeffrey, Chuck Missler, and many more.

      However, IF MacPherson is wrong and Satan deceived him into attacking the PreTrib rapture, where’s the list of scholars with equally impeccable credentials the devil fooled into believing and teaching that lie?

      I want to end this section with a quote from Dr. David Reagan I could easily have used as a preface and not written another word: “The biggest problem with MacPherson’s assertion is that it is really irrelevant. The crucial question is not where the Pre-Tribulation Rapture concept originated; rather, the only question that matters is whether or not it is biblical.”

      Right division proves that it is!

      Shalom …

  3. May 21, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    if Irenaeus taught a pre trib rapture, Darby would have constantly quoted him in support of his position, as after Irenaeus was one of the most important early Christian writers, and Darby himself was very well educated, well read and spoke many languages living and dead, there was no way he didn’t know about Irenaeus, even Thomas Ice admitted that Irenaeus didn’t teach pretribulationalism

    • May 22, 2017 at 7:31 am

      My article agrees with you. Here’s what it says:

      Irenaeus believed in the three and a half year reign of the Antichrist as ruler of the world before the Second Coming of Christ. He also believed in a literal millennial reign of Christ on earth following the Second Coming and in the resurrection of the just. Irenaeus also believed in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church occuring apparently about mid-way in. In Against Heresies 5:29 he wrote: “And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, ‘There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be.’ For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which, when they overcome they are crowned with incorruption.”

      Note Irenaeus’ use of the “caught up.” It is the exact same Rapture terminology used in 1 Thessalonians 4. The word used is 1 Thessalonians 4, is “harpazo”, meaning to be “caught up.” Irenaeus believed that the Rapture of the Church occurred prior to Israel’s Tribulation.

  4. May 22, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Ireaneus believed jews were cut off from god forever

    • May 25, 2017 at 7:07 am

      Yes. Replacement Theology is a demonic, Anti-Semitic heresy (Rev 2:9; 3:9)!

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