Fake News about the Rapture

Dr. Mike Johnston

Mark Twain observed, “It’s easier to deceive people than it is to convince them they have been deceived.” Never has this been truer than it is today.

Deception made its debut 6000 years ago when Satan used it as a ploy to seduce Adam and Eve away from God’s Word (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-6). Today the devil’s patent trickery has become the international delusion Jesus, Paul, and Peter warned that it would:

“Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matt. 24:4). “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Peter 2:1-2).

I believe we are approaching the apex of these prophecies. Serving as evidence, are hypocritical media[1] liberals invoking their First Amendment rights to promote a perverse Leviticus 18 agenda while litigating against the free speech rights of patriots exposing them.

Blowing the whistle on media mendacity, Charlie Daniel’s warned, “The news is not about news anymore. It’s about protecting some people, destroying others and shoving a socialist agenda down the collective throats of America.” What America’s fiddle man described is a sneaky tactic called fake news that was unmasked and named during 2016 Presidential election.

It gained steam in 1925 when Adolph Hitler released Mein Kampf. The con which was later perfected by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels involves telling a lie so “colossal” that no one would ever conceive of a person possessing “the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” [2] I think Rush Limbaugh had this in mind when he stated, “The truthfulness of an accusation is not nearly as important as the seriousness of the charge.”

This is precisely the strategy employed in 1973 with the release of an incendiary paperback purporting the following unfounded but colossal allegation:

“The PreTrib Rapture is a Giant
Hoax that didn’t exist until 1830”

There are several things required for defamation of this magnitude to deceive anyone. First, it requires an element of truth to twist, which it does. Second, it requires numbers of people possessing marginal knowledge of the truth twisted, which there are. Third, there must be an unapologetic truth twister who refuses to relent even when faced with conflicting evidences will grit his teeth and carry the lie all the way from conception to deception; and we have one. In this case, that man’s name is Dave MacPherson.[3]

MacPherson is a mean spirited [4] rapture-loathing book peddler renegade who portrays himself as an “investigative reporter” stumbling on a cover up regarding the PreTrib rapture. The truth is, he nothing more than an architectural academic connecting a few dots he created.

Now let me hasten to say at the outset, I’m not opposed to anyone having an opposing opinion about the rapture; all of us are entitled to make our own assumptions. What irks me is the deceitful manner in which MacPherson lays claim to journalistic integrity while inventing facts to substantiate conclusions he can’t prove in any other way. Where I come from, that isn’t scholarship, that’s scandal. After much research, my assessment of MacPherson is in line with the following scholars review of “The Rapture Plot”: “Blinded by his rush to a preordained conclusion, his analysis of those sources is clouded by a hateful style which prevents much of what he says from being taken seriously.” [5]

In the end, astute readers will find it ironic if not hilarious that all MacPherson’s drum-thumping about a vast rapture cover up is eclipsed by discovering he has personally presided over a cover up hiding the fact he has no evidence to prove it.

Dave’s Incredible Cover-Up

MacPherson’s chicanery has existed in manuscript form over four decades. The fact is while DM is expressly livid with proponents of PreTrib rapture, he neither does scholarship nor himself any favors by misrepresenting history. His Houdini like specialty is illusion whereby he makes fiction appear to be factual with the stroke of a keyboard and the hope his “evidence” draws no scrutiny which most of the time in the sphere of rapture antagonism, proves to be true.[6]

My initial exposure to his material occurred a few years after I came to Christ. [7] I’ve since studied his scheme with more intensity. My research reveals that preparation for his ruse began in 1953 with what he calls “a jolting encounter with the rapture”. [8] From that, Dave presents himself as an innocent victim of mean PreTrib rapture people. This includes his expulsion from BIOLA College for arguing the merits of the Post Trib rapture in a PreTrib school. [9] Entering at this juncture are escalating signs of clinical paranoia as he begins to blame every evil in his life [10] on the rapture and its teachers, including but not limited to, a drunken binge in Mexico, a tragic car accident, his mom’s death, his sister’s inability to have more children, the demonic possession of his dog Wolf, and all his father’s pastoral woes. [11] Believe it or not, Dave goes so far as to blame hundreds of thousands of deaths in Communist China to the rapture.

Armed with acrimony – and a Goebbels-like determination to eliminate rapture teachers – his mission statement has ostensibly centered on the wholesale destruction of the “blessed hope” – aka rapture (Titus 2:13) – along with the good reputations of every person on earth promoting it. This he began in 1973 by publishing what is essentially the same document with cosmetic changes which has now become a multi-volume fantasy franchise using incendiary titles like “The Rapture Plot”, “The Incredible Cover Up”, “The Great Rapture Hoax”, “Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin”, “Late Great Pre-Trib Rapture”; et al.

MacPherson’s shtick in every book – beaten like a jungle drum, but never proven – is that the rapture is a pervasive fraud with an elaborate cover up hiding a dubious origin he pretends [12] didn’t exist until 1830. [13] That, he alleges, was the year a demon-possessed charismatic member of Edward Irving’s[14] Catholic Apostolic Church by the name of Margaret MacDonald [15]  conjured it up in a vision; recorded and published later by her apostolic husband Robert Norton then stolen by a Plymouth Brethren scholar we’ll discuss in a moment, John Nelson Darby.

Now bear in mind, there are two published versions of Miss MacDonald’s vision; both provided by her husband. [16] The second one was glommed onto by MacPherson because it was redacted slightly making it more palatable to MacPherson’s mythos. What follows, is excerpted from the first record of the alleged 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 [17]that appeared twenty-one years later. This redacted version is the one DM seized upon in order to arrive at his crafty conclusion. [18]

Let’s think logically here. If Darby stole an original idea from Margaret MacDonald or anyone else for that matter, why is everyone except MacPherson and his gang silent about it? No one – including himself, Robert Cameron [19] or Samuel Tregelles [A] (possibly the man Dave “borrowed” the germ for his idea from), 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.

Now we see a problem. In order to sell his books, MacPherson must convince his customers – without substantive proof – he has new evidence Darby stole the PreTrib rapture from Miss MacDonald (who remained silent about it) – rather than getting it from the Bible three years earlier as Darby and extant records maintains. Therefore, since historical documentation won’t support MacPherson invented invectives, he simply plays Houdini by convincing his audience that he is right and the historical records are wrong.

But there are many inconvenient records disproving Dave’s allegations. Does he admit his cover up, or conceive of and carry out the character assassination of the main witnesses against him.

Being who he is, Dave opts for the latter option.

There is a frightening resemblance between Dave’s determination to hang a rapture origin cover up on Plymouth Brethren[20] scholar John Nelson Darby [21]  and Joseph Stalin’s secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria who bragged, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime”.

Devoid of any compassion, conviction, or constraint, MacPherson’s wages all-out war on Darby  by framing him as a compromising theological thug who jettisoned his integrity to pilfer and plagiarize MacDonald’s demonic vision [22] – then share it with CI Scofield – another deceased nemesis he excoriates – to use in his reference Bible.[23] All of this rumored by MacPherson to be part of an arcane scheme Darby, Scofield[24] and ultimately the Plymouth Brethren apparently cooked up in some dank, dimly lit room for no earthly reason other than the indescribable joy they all shared knowing they were deceiving innocent Christian people.

What you’ve read is what research reveals. It’s out there and you can find it very easily. Personally, by the time I got to this point in my investigation, I’d completely changed my mind about MacPherson’s credibility. The evidence speaks for itself that his work amounts to nothing more than unscrupulous historical revisionism; and I’m not alone in believing that.

Plymouth Brethren scholar Roy A. Huebner, another victim of the MacPherson hate syndicate, accused DM of what amounts to sloppy scholarship for “Using slander that J. N. Darby took the (truth of the) pretribulation rapture from those very opposing, demon-inspired utterances.”  Huebner proves that MacPherson essentially had confused the statements of a number of people in a rush to go to print without solid research confirmation (concluding) … 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. [25] (parenthesis added)

Evidence against MacPherson’s supposition is heavy. While you are certainly free to believe his unsubstantiated appeals, you are joining others who do so simply on the merits of MacPherson’s urging. Godly scholars from every rapture position have studied and refuted his rogue ruminations about Darby and MacDonald for instance simply by comparing actual history with the unsubstantiated claims he continues to retail.

Commenting on MacPherson’s unverified link between Darby and MacDonald or her charismatic connections, PreTrib opponent Ernest R. Sandeen declares, “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.”[26]

After years of research, PreTrib opponent John Bray came face to face with the truth regarding the unverifiable accusations against John Darby’s alleged association with a charismatic occultist, and offered this, “[John 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.”[27]

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.”[28]

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. [29]

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.” [30]

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.”[31]

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). [32]

I’ll quote two other reliable researchers with impeccable credentials who dug up, digested, and dismantled most of the wild misrepresentations about the PreTrib rapture and its proponents MacPherson has ever made.

In Kept from the Hour, Dr. Gerald Stanton makes this observation:

“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.”

Another observation of MacPherson’s distortions comes from the late Dr. John Walvoord[33],

“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.” [34]

The bottom line is that Dave MacPherson’s anti-PreTrib rapture enterprise comes from the pen of an angry man, blinded by rage, and incapable of fairness with facts inconvenient to his conclusions. The result is the shadowy sham he created, consisting of a bevy of books, teaching the same thing, yet all of them collectively proving nothing except there’s a market in the church for conspiracy theories delivered with high levels of emotion even though non evidential.

Consider with me this writer’s final observation:

“Macpherson’s thesis has been rejected by many competent scholars who are not pre-trib. Men like F.F. Bruce, John Bray, Timothy Weber, and others have found his conclusions untenable. MacPherson misleads his reader by mentioning F. F. Bruce as a good friend of his without letting the reader know that Bruce, a Brethren scholar who rejected pre-trib, totally discarded the rapture plot idea (p. 40). The fact of the matter is that the real test of whether the pre-trib rapture is correct doctrine is not its historical origin but its exegetical support from the Bible. MacPherson’s book provides no help in this area.”[35]

Men of God MacPherson Mocks and Maligns

In the final analysis, Dave MacPherson’s scholarship consists of nothing more than hate filled attacks from assumptions underwritten by a daisy chain of vastly unknown bibliographical references all underwriting him and his dubious sources. What’s equally troubling is his rowdy refusal to be civil by insisting everyone disagreeing with him is by default in league with Lucifer. Nastiness notwithstanding, here’s a small list of unimpeachable Biblical scholars MacPherson by default consigns to heresy if not to Hell purely and simply for disagreeing with his crass, clumsy conclusions.

Isaac Watts, JN Darby, CI Scofield, John Gill, Morgan Edwards, DL Moody, RA Torrey, Clarence Larkin, Lewis Sperry Chafer. William R. Newell, J. Vernon McGee, David Jeremiah, Lehman Strauss, Merrill Unger, Dave Reagan, Sir Robert Anderson. Charles Swindoll, Jerry Falwell, Jack Hyles, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Dave Hunt, Noah Hutchings, J. Dwight Pentecost, Zola Levitt, J. Randall Price, Dave Breese, Jimmy DeYoung, AC Gaebelein, MR DeHaan, JR Church, HA Ironside, Gary Stearman, Tommy Ice, Hal Lindsey, Ed Hindson, Grant Jeffrey, Chuck Missler, Jack Van Impe, and many more. [36]

The following links provide a partial list of rapture information from Biblical scholars who have themselves thoroughly researched and refuted most every misrepresentation, misquote,  and misapplication MacPherson has made over the past 40 years of attacks against the “blessed hope”.

  • 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

 

NOTES

[1] The media admits over 90% of them support Democrats in elections. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/05/06/just-7-percent-of-journalists-are-republicans-thats-far-less-than-even-a-decade-ago/?utm_term=.b8704f1259f3

[2] Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, Chapter 10. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie

[3] Be sure to study Brethren scholar Timothy Stunt’s extensive expose on the underhanded tactics MacPherson employed to arrive at his conclusions: http://brethrenhistory.org/qwicsitePro/php/docsview.php?docid=415

[4] This brief bio is a response in kind to MacPherson’s relentless mean spirited attacks against good men and women simply for disagreeing with him.

[5] Source: http://our-hope.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ReviewMacPherson.pdf

[6] BTW, this isn’t this called LYING? Check the records yourself if you still refuse to believe me.

[7] I was saved April 24, 1975 at seven thirty in the morning.

[8] DM claims to have had a jolting encounter with the Rapture in 1953. (Rapture Hoax p. 3)

[9] He learned this tactic from his father who was himself a recent convert to the Post Trib rapture ruse.

[10] My friend, if this doesn’t qualify for insanity, let’s at least call it “intellectual insolvency”.

[11] http://www.raptureready.com/faq-did-dave-macpherson-invent-the-false-history-of-the-pr-trib-rapture/

[12] MacPherson offers what he swears is proof, but since he is the only person that has stumbled onto the sources, scholars have concluded his “findings” are NOT to be trusted.

[13] Dave lied. The invention of the internet allows us to explore archives of writings from the early church fathers discussing the coming of Christ to remove His church.

[14] 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]

[15] Margaret MacDonald was born in 1815 in Port Glasgow, Scotland and died around 1840.[1] She lived with her two older brothers, James and George, both of whom ran a shipping business.[1] Beginning in 1826 and through 1829, a few preachers in Scotland emphasized that the world’s problems could only be addressed through an outbreak of supernatural gifts from the Holy Spirit.[2] In response, Isabella and Mary Campbell of the parish of Rosneath manifested charismatic experiences such as speaking in tongues. Around 1830, miraculous healings were reported through James Campbell, first of his sister Margaret MacDonald and then of Mary Campbell (through James’s letter to Mary).[3] Shortly thereafter, James and George MacDonald manifested the speaking and interpretations of tongues, and soon others followed suit in prayer meetings. These charismatic experiences garnered major national attention. Many came to see and investigate these events. Some, such as Edward Irving and Henry Drummond, regarded these events as genuine displays from the Holy Spirit. Others, including John Nelson Darby and Benjamin Wills Newton, whom the Plymouth Brethren sent on their behalf to investigate, came to the conclusion that these displays were demonic. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_MacDonald_(visionary)

[16] “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]

[17] This editing was performed by her husband who wanted to give her credit for a PreTrib vision.

[18] The first account which was a full account of MacDonald’s utterance was published in 1840 in Robert Norton’s Memoirs (pp. 171–76). The second account appeared 1861 with some words removed in The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets pp. 15–18. In order to further the anti-PreTrib rapture scheme, these two accounts were conflated by MacPherson in his book The Incredible Cover-up (p. 151–54)

making it appear to reach a conclusion context would not allow].

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_MacDonald_(visionary)

[19] American Robert Cameron in 1922 wrote a book against pretribulationism that centered his attack against the doctrine of imminence.[2] Early in his book he penned a chapter that ask: “Could Christ Have Come At Any Moment?”[3] Throughout Cameron’s lengthy chapter[4] be cites what he believes are items that would have to take place before any return by Christ, thus nullifying, in his mind, the any-moment doctrine of imminency as advocated by pretribulationists. Cameron believes that imminency “is opposed to the whole of the New Testament.”[5] Source: http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/imminence-and-rapture-part-1

[20] Pastor Darby is known as the father of modern dispensationalism. MacPherson’s hatred for dispensationalism (calling it a heresy) stems from his refusal to rightly divide the Word and allow Israel her rightful place in God’s overall economy. His writings are inexorably anti-Semitic.

[21] In his commentary on Revelation, William R. Newell called Darby the greatest interpreter of the Bible since Paul – http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/proph/newelltr.pdf. A collection of Darby’s writings are available at Plymouth Brethren archives: http://www.plymouthbrethren.org/byauthor/5/john_nelson_darby

[22] Researcher Billy Crone traveled to Europe including Scotland where he discovered Darby no doubt heard about MacDonald’s 1830 charismatic manifestation, but considered them demonic and not of God. It also appears in the book by Wilkinson, Paul Richard (2007). For Zion’s Sake: Christian Zionism and the Role of John Nelson Darby. Paternoster. pp. 192–93.

[23] If Darby laid claim to MacDonald’s vision – which incidentally was partial mid trib and post trib, why didn’t Scofield give him credit?

[24] MacPherson loathes both Darby and Scofield. For a clear report on the life of Scofield, may I suggest Dr. Robert Sumner’s piece: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/dispen/canfield.pdf

[25] Source: http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/mar2015/pastorbob329-2.htm

[26] Source: http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1101&context=sor_fac_pubs

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

[28] Max S. Weremchuk, John Nelson Darby: A Biography (Neptune, N. J.: Loizeaux Brothers, 1992). P242. Source: http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Ice-Part2-MythsoftheOrig.pdf

[29] Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOWX5EZfgBk

[30] Quoted from: http://www.according2prophecy.org/macphers.html. There is a wealth of info unveiling the mocking MacPherson.

[31] I disagree with Hanegraaff on some important doctrinal issues such as Covenantal Theology. With that caveat, I offer this for consideration from his perspective. Hank Hanegraaff,. Apocalypse Code. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 46.

[32] http://www.raptureready.com/faq-did-dave-macpherson-invent-the-false-history-of-the-pr-trib-rapture/

[33] Respected theologian and former President of Dallas Theological Seminary.

[34] More information available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret: MacDonald: (visionary)

[35] Analysis of The Rapture Plot: http://our-hope.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ReviewMacPherson.pdf

[36] Once again, if you buy MacPherson’s narrative, you have to believe as he does that he’s the chosen and enlightened one and EVERY ONE else including this list of renowned PreTrib Bible scholars are half baked malevolent morons deceiving the church with the devil’s lie.

Appendix [A]
Excursus on Tregelles

Tregelles (in 1864) made the claim that the pre-trib teaching arose from an utterance in Irving’s church:

“But when the theory of a secret coming of Christ was first brought forward (about the year 1832), it was adopted with eagerness…I am not aware that there was any definite teaching that there would be a secret rapture of the church at a secret coming, until this was given forth as an ‘utterance’ in Mr. Irving’s church, from what was there received as being the voice of the Spirit. But whether any one ever asserted such a thing or not, it was from that supposed revelation that the modern doctrine and the modern phraseology respecting it arose.” (Tregelles, “The Hope of Christ’s Second Coming,” 1864)

Tregelles does not document this “utterance.” G.H. Lang therefore writes:

“No evidence is available that any of the Powerscourt circle took the idea of a secret rapture from the Irvingite utterances, no evidence beyond Tregelles’s assertion, and for this he gives no proofs.” (“The Disciple,” 1954)

In “The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin,” (1973), Dave MacPherson does his best to make his own far-fetched idea “believable.” He attempts to link the origin of the pre-trib rapture view with a young lady named Margaret McDonald. However, he fails considerably in offering any evidence that this young lady influenced anyone on ANY Biblical subject (other than perhaps, whether or not Apostolic gifts were reviving). To start with, she was in Scotland (not England, where Irving’s church was located). As to M. McDonald’s particular “revelation,” she appears to teach that the “Spirit-filled” will be “kept” from deception in the MIDST of the Trib (i.e. the post-trib view)! She has the faithful (including herself) on earth when the Antichrist is revealed:

“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. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept. I frequently said, Oh be filled with the Spirit – have the light of God within you, that you may DETECT satan…” (emphasis mine)

It is obvious that by being “kept,” McDonald means Christians are kept from DECEPTION while the Antichrist is manifested!

McPherson erred by stumbling onto a book written by Robert Norton in 1861 which claimed that Margaret McDonald originated the pre-trib rapture view. The book was titled, “The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets in the Catholic Apostolic Church” (i.e. Irving’s movement). In 1852, Norton wrote “Reasons for Believing the Lord has Restored to the Church Apostles and Prophets.” By 1861, the pre-trib rapture view was a well-established doctrine among premillennialists. Isn’t it reasonable to conclude that Norton (a member of the Catholic Apostolic Church) would greatly desire to argue that something “significant” originated from someone exercising a restored “Apostolic” gift? Notice his words in describing Margaret McDonald’s supposed “revelation” of the pre-trib rapture (i.e. two-stage coming):

“Marvelous light was shed upon Scripture, and especially upon the doctrine of the Second Advent BY THE REVIVED SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. In the following account by Miss M.M…we see first the distinction between the final stage of the Lord’s coming…and His prior appearing…” (emphasis mine; MacPherson, p.47)

Sadly, Norton (1807-1883) was simply a victim of his own wishful thinking. He read into M.M.’s “revelation” in order to argue that “marvelous light” (i.e. the pre-trib rapture teaching which was WIDESPREAD among prophecy students at the time) had come forth from his own restoration movement. Why would he need this type of prop? Because the majority of Christians at the time thought his movement was inspired by the Devil and that Norton himself was “fanatical”! How advantageous it would be to argue that the prized teaching in regard to the two stages of the Lord’s Coming was first manifested by someone with a supernatural gift. Yet, he failed in offering anything other than his own assertions to validate his claims. MacPherson repeated the mistake (for different reasons). –Pastor Joey Faust; Source: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Believer%27s%20Corner/Doctrines/rapture_history.htm

 

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