Have you ever wondered about the man who made the Pre-Tribulation rapture theory popular? To my amazement, there is quite a bit of information about him and the origin of the Pre-Trib Rapture.
Before I get started, I'd like for you to know that I am not an advocate for any particular theory. I haven't studied it enough to decide what Scripture supports. I've listened to the opinions and what they feel Scripture supports, but I'm not passionate about one viewpoint. I don't feel that if someone is incorrect about the timing of the Lord's return, that this will or will not affect their salvation. I just plan to be ready, whenever the Lord chooses to take us up.
While I explained to you that I don't have a particular viewpoint, did you ask yourself why? Simply put, I was unable to go through the mental gymnastics to come up with a conclusion. My mind is not analytical enough to endure the twists and turns. What I do understand is Jesus' simple words in Matthew 24 - so I stick with that.
With this said, this study is merely centered upon the man, John Nelson Darby - and where he got his ideas - and where it all started.
John Nelson Darby (1800 - 1882) was an Anglo-Irish evangelist, and an influential figure among the original Plymouth Brethren. He is considered to be the father of modern Dispensationalism.
Dispensationalism - "Darby is sometimes credited with originating, the "secret rapture" theory wherein Christ will suddenly remove His bride, the Church, from this world before the judgments of the tribulation. Dispensationalist beliefs about the fate of the Jews and the re-establishment of the Kingdom of Israel put dispensationalists at the forefront of Christian Zionism, because "God is able to graft them in again," and they believe that in His grace he will do so according to their understanding of Old Testament prophecy. They believe that, while the ways of God may change, His purposes to bless Israel will never be forgotten, just as He has shown unmerited favour to the Church, He will do so to a remnant of Israel to fulfill all the promises made to the genetic seed of Abraham." Wikipedia
Darby was originally trained as a lawyer and was a member of the secret order of Freemasonry. His interest in Bible prophecy came out of what he learned in the lodge from the Jewish interpretation of the ages known as Cabalism. Being an alleged "Christian Mason" he arranged Cabalist theories with prophecy until he forged a new interpretation. He was fascinated by the Occult and believed that the doctrine of the Trinity was idolatry.
Darby was also trained at Trinity College in Dublin, but soon became dissatisfied with institutional Christianity and its various denominations. He started a small association devoted to Christian evangelism, and that group grew quickly, soon starting a second branch in Plymouth, England. By 1830 the group was given the name "The Plymouth Brethren," and the association continued to grow to form a number of chapters.
The movement gained rapid popularity and spread. Darby attended the series of meetings on Bible Prophecy that began in 1830 at Powerscourt, Ireland, and at these conferences he apparently learned about the secret rapture as revealed by vision to Margaret McDonald, and promoted by Edward Irving, and he soon visited Margaret MacDonald at her home in Port Glasgow, Scotland.
There is a theory being circulated on the internet about a pre-trib rapture teaching that was invented by John Nelson Darby who has been claimed by some to have been a Freemason.
The False Pre-Trib Rapture
As the story goes:
The false pre-tribulation rapture was invented by a Jesuit priest named Francisco Ribera (1537-1591). Ribera was commanded to create a new eschatological doctrine that would combat the historical Protestant view that the Catholic church was one of the beasts written of in the book of Revelation.
A second Jesuit priest, Manuel De Lacunza, wrote a book supporting Ribera’s Futurist doctrine under the pen name “Juan Josafa (Rabbi) Ben Ezra” in 1791. Lacunza took on a fake name in order to mislead Christian people into thinking the book was written by a Jew and not a Jesuit. If the Protestants knew a Jesuit was behind this new doctrine they would have never accepted it.
A third Jesuit priest, Luis De Alcazar, wrote a commentary titled “The Investigation of the Hidden Sense of the Apocalypse”which put forth a second false doctrine, its purpose was to contradict the historical Protestant view. This new doctrine was called “Preterism” and basically espoused that the Emperor Nero was the Antichrist and that the prophecies in book of Revelation were fulfilled by 70 A.D.
Both new doctrines, Futurism and Preterism, were created by the Jesuits in order to deceive Protestant Christians and to obfuscate the prophecies of Revelation. Both the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation clearly define the Catholic church to be loyal to Satan and not to God. We’re talking about the Elite hierarchy of the Catholic Church (The Pope and most of his cardinals) not the everyday catholic who goes to church every Sunday.
The Jesuits passed their doctrine onto Edward Irving (1792-1834), a Scottish Presbyterian and forerunner of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Irving translated Lacunza’s work from Spanish into English in a book titled “The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty,” published in London in 1827 by L.B. Seeley and Sons.
Edward Irving was a Charismatic preacher from Scotland and had a small congregation. A young girl (15-years old) by the name of Margaret McDonald had a series of visions in the early 1830s. These visions supported a pre-tribulation rapture of the saints as established in the writings of Francisco Ribera. She wrote a letter to Irving concerning her visions and Irving brought her revelations to a prophecy conference in Dublin Ireland in 1830 which was held at Powerscourt Castle. Edward Irving aggressively promoted Futurism, the Jesuit created rapture doctrine based on Ribera’s lies.
From England and Scotland the Jesuit created Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine grew and then spread to America. It was John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) who also attended the prophecy conference at Powerscourt Castle who was the first American preacher to zealously spread the Jesuit inspired false doctrine.
Next came the infamous American, Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921). Cyrus Scofield was heavily influenced by the writings of John Darby. Scofield interwoved Futurism into the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible.The Scofield Reference Bible was published by Oxford press in 1909. By 1930 over one million copies were in circulation and the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine known as futurism was well on its way to becoming a ubiquitous part of mainstream American Christianity."
If you read yesterday's post, I omitted part of it. After a lengthy discussion with my husband, I decided to remove the last part of the post. Since the terms like premillennial and dispensation seem to change with time and denomination, I thought it best to pull them off. The final analysis from yesterday's post ended up being like scrambled eggs, and they only served to confuse. We decided that the terms hold a different meaning for different people. Just as some of the concepts of our countries founders are now finding new meaning, these theological terms also seem to be doing the same.
One thing we know to be true is that the Lord will return for us at the "last trump" (1 Cor. 15:52). I know there is some discussion that the last trump that Paul spoke of, and the last trump of Revelation are different trumps, but I'm not going to get into that speculation.
Early Church Fathers Several of the early Church Fathers expected a 1000-year reign of Christ. In the testimony of the early Church fathers, there is almostcomplete silence on the subject of the tribulation. They often speak of going through tribulations. This is probably because during the first centuries of the Church, the Church was passing through many persecutions and they viewed something worse coming their way. They lived expectantly waiting on the Lord's return.
Hermas (c. AD 150) says: "Happy are you who endure the great tribulation that is coming. And happy are they who will not deny their own life."
Hippolytus (c. AD 200) speaks of the tyrant who will "…reign and persecute the Church, which flees from city to city, and seeks concealment in the wilderness among the mountains."
Irenaeus (c. AD 180) says: "For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which they are crowned with incorruption – when they overcome."
Was there any mention of a pretribulation rapture? There was mention of a rapture, but you can't discern if it is pre-trib or pre-wrath.
Hermas' Writing Hermas writes a story about a maiden and a beast, to show that there would be an escape of the future Great Tribulation period.
“... through the power of the Lord and His great mercy I escaped from it.” Then the maiden said, “Well did you escape from it, because you can be saved by no other than His great and glorious name … You have escaped from great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be free and spotless, and ye spend the rest of your days in serving the Lord blamelessly” (Hermas, Shepherd of Hermas, Book I, Vision IV, Chapter ii).
Irenaeus also seems to hold that the church will be caught upduring the tribulation, for he says: “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” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter xxix).
The Teaching During the Middle AgesFurther, it is not strange that the leaders in the Middle Ages are silent concerning the pretribulational rapture. With the rise of Constantine and the state church, the Church turned to an allegorizing of the Scriptures concerning the Lord’s return. And with the denial of a literal millennium, the tribulation was allegorized or ignored. The Reformers returned to the doctrine of the second coming, but their emphasis was on the doctrine of salvation, rather than the development of the details of eschatology. The Pretribulation Rapture (17th - 21st Centuries) In 1830, a new school arose within the fold of a 1000-year reign being connected to and a pretribulation rapture. Nowadays, most of the reputable Bible scholars hold the pretribulation view, they are: John Nelson Darby; C.I. Scofield; William R. Newell; J. Dwight Pentecost; John F. Walvoord; Charles Ryrie; Robert L. Thomas; William MacDonald and Perry Stone, just to name a few. Do they adhere to this teaching because of tradition, or because they earnestly believe the rapture is pre-trib? I suggest: both. I say this because there are few who have the courage to go against the tide of tradition and preach anything else.
In this post, I am going to offer some of the writings from people who believe John Nelson Darby was intentionally trying to deceive generations of Christians. But at the same time, I am trying to determine whether his Pre-tribulation Dispensation theology was correct, part of a conspiracy, or he was just an unlucky guy who mishandled Scripture that fooled Christians for generations. I won't try to defend him, since there are so many Evangelical and mainline teachers who already side with him.
But first, in my current study of the Trinity, I was able to trace anti-Trinitarian teachings from 190 AD to the 15th century heretical teachings of Rosicrucianism. It trickled down through the Unitarian Church, the occult teachings of Madame Blavatsky, all the way through each of the cult movements of today. I felt that if the Enemy was trying to deceive us with the anti-Trinitarian teachings, it will culminate in a major end time deception. Then teaching of the mystery religions of the 19th century (the time when Darby lived) would have some grand end time scheme planned as well. You see, there is a direct connection from Rosicrucianism/Theosophy teachings to the New Age Movement, which is prepared with what I will call "The Plan" to eliminate Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. They call it cleansing, but we'll call it annihilation. If Darby was a con artist, then there must be an end time game that he's associated with. The Theosophy of John Nelson Darby As I mentioned in the first post, Darby was a member of the Order of Freemasonry. Freemasons have a direct link to Theosophy, the mystery religions, and the study of the Qabalah. It was within the frame-work of the Qabalah that Dispensationalism has its birth. (I don't know any more about this topic.)
If he did have a genuine connection as a Mason, there is a very good chance that he tried to experience "enlightenment," where you can pierce the veil and speak to the angels (or demons).
It is not uncommon that Christians were part of this organization.Charles Finney (1792 – 1875) was a Presbyterian and Congregationalist minister who became an important figure in the Second Great Awakening.
Let's look at an interesting parallel of Darby's writing style and the words chosen by Alice Bailey's in her writings for the Theosophical Society. (Bailey took over for Madame Blavatsky several years after she died.)
New Age Christ
The Coming One
The Coming One
The Christ (Head of the Hierarchy)
Coming in flesh (future tense)
Is to come in the flesh (or reappear)
(invisible) Imminent Return
Imminent Return (or appearing)
Will cause the disappearances of Christians
(John Darby inserted the message of imminence into prophetic passages of his Bible translation.)
Will cause the disappearances of Christians (Cleansing Action)
His public coming will bring about the consummation of the age
His public coming will bring about the consummation of the age
Darby's Teaching The first teaching was one that created an almost immediate division, the belief that the Church would be taken up to be with the Lord before the coming tribulation period. Until Darby’s teaching, the church world had understood the Apostles and the early Church Fathers to teach the Lord would come for his Bride, the Church, AFTER the tribulation. The pre-trib rapture of the Church was apparently a "new doctrine" that met with an instant church split.
"The Exclusive Brethren began it’s man-made journey into becoming a bona fide cult in the late 1840’s when early Plymouth Brother John Nelson Darby led the first major division in the Plymouth Brethren. The Darbyites, or Closed Brethren effectively closed access to Holy Communion by excluding anyone who was not completely in accord with their beliefs.
(Source) In another excerpt: "Time magazine’ssenior religion writer David van Biema in "The End: How it Got That Way" (7-01-02), tells of the "rapture" scheme of John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), who is considered the Father of Dispensationalism. Darby claimed that biblical history is best understood in light of seven distinct dispensations or "eras" of God’s dealings with man as discerned from the Bible, beginning with creation and ending with the millennium.
According to Van Deventer, Darby was a British lawyer-turned-disillusioned minister whose doubts concerning the Scriptural authority for the institutional Church led him to leave it and find fellowship with a small group of brethren in Plymouth, England. But, by 1836, Darby had invented a doctrine claiming there were not one, but two "second comings" of Christ, an idea that was immediately challenged as unbiblical by other members of the Plymouth Brethren. Also challenged were his assertions concerning the premillennial return of Christ and the rapture of the church." Where did Darby get his ideas, and who were those individuals Jesuit Priests Franciso Riberaand Manuel De Lacunza both had teachings on the imminent return of Jesus, the Antichrist, and the 1000-year reign of Christ, but offered no direct quotes associated with a pre-trib rapture. It was not until:
Edward Irving (1792-1834), a Scottish Presbyterian and forerunner of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, translated Jesuit Priest Manuel De Lacunza's work from Spanish into English in a book titledThe Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty with a Preliminary Discourse,published in London in 1827. Irving
was so excited by Lacunza's speculations, he mastered Spanish in order to translate and publish the work in English. Irving met his translation with great conviction because of the unique prophetic speculations about the end of the world, predicting the apostasy of Christendom, the subsequent restoration of the Jews, the imminent return of Christ. Irving was a Freemason. "Irving was excommunicated by the London Presbytery in 1830 for heresy [he taught that Jesus' earthly nature was sinful], Irving continued to preach until his death in 1834." (Source) Margaret McDonald, a 15-year old Scottish girl, and member of Edward Irving's congregation, had visions, while in a trance, in early 1830 that included a Secret Rapture of believers before the appearance of the Antichrist. She informed Irving of her visions by letter. Irving then attended the prophecy conferences that began in Dublin Ireland in 1830 at Powerscourt Castle, where he promoted both Futurism and a Secret Rapture. Darby also attended this conference. It was then that both Darby and Irving began to promote this teaching.
Samuel Roffey Maitland (1792-1866), scholar and librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury, further promoted and established Futurism in England after 1826, as a result of reading the work of Manuel De Lacunza. He concluded that the 3 1/2 times, 42 months, and 1260 days of Daniel and Revelation were all intended to be a literal 3 1/2 years, not 1260 years. John Nelson Darby (1800–1882)Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1813-1875), formerly with the Plymouth Brethren, he became Presbyterian, and published The Hope Of Christ's Second Coming in 1864, in which he gave the following testimony on the origin of the secret rapture:
"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. It came not from Holy Scripture, but from that which falsely pretended to be the Spirit of God, while not owning the true doctrine of our Lord’s incarnation in the same flesh and blood as His brethren, but without taint of sin." -- Footnote 1 for Chapter 9, pg 35.
So, Irving influenced Darby, Darby influenced Scofield, Scofield and Darby influenced D. L. Moody, and Moody influenced the Pentecostal Movement.
Should we trust the work of Jesuit Priests? No! Many of the Jesuits are and were involved in Mysticism, which involved alternate states of consciousness. They communed with the spirit world. They are involved in occult practices, so I wouldn't trust a thing they say.
So, why would this doctrine be manipulated by the New Age Movement? Whether right or wrong, I'm going to offer some reasons I believe may be the reasoning for the deception:
To create disunity among the true Church.
When the cleansing by the New Agers begins, many feel their Lord has forgotten them, and that the Bible was a fairy tale? Will this cause more Christians to turn their back on the Lord Jesus to follow the Satan incarnate messiah?
With the belief in a two-phase rapture, this permits many not to live wholeheartedly for God. Besides, they can get caught up in the next rapture. It gives an opportunity to live for self and not for Christ.
I read about a year ago, how Tony Blair called Israel "home." He has never lived there. I believe the one world government will eventually be based in Israel. This would explain the Masonic symbolism in their Supreme Court building, the pyramids, and why many of their top officials are Masons.
Somehow, within the Darby theory, I feel that Christians are being set-up into supporting Israel and unknowingly helping to bring about the one world government. Christian ministries have been assisting the Jewish people to return to their homeland, and have been in favor of the Temple construction. This is the same Temple the Antichrist will set himself up and declare himself as God. Are these Christians in the mindset that we will already be caught up in the rapture by the time the Antichrist will begin to extinguish the Christians and Jews? Have we been going above and beyond in assisting in our own demise?
Then I challenge you to ask yourself this question: "Should Christians be encouraging the Temple construction while God has already provided us a Savior? Besides, the Jews have full intentions of starting the sacrifices again." The final sacrifice was provided in Jesus, and resuming them is a slap in the face to God. There will be a Temple built, because the Zionists insist it must be built - but is it truly God's will? There are plenty of instances of things that occur in Scripture that are not God's will. And there are plenty of ways Satan uses godly people to accomplish his will.
You may think I have this all wrong, but that's alright. You can email me to straighten me out.
This will permit you to see the doctrinal changes Darby made to the Bible: here
To conclude, I will let you weigh the evidence. I think we must be cautious of who we follow. In my opinion, evidence is clear that a pre-trib teaching was not followed by those before us, and the may be something dark occurring.
I do think it is unfortunate that the Church has willingly embraced such teaching, even by those who say they love the Word. Perhaps they just want their ears tickled.