Up to this point in our history of the pre-tribulation Rapture, we have looked at the development of imminency, and of the 'split' coming of Christ.
Enter Margaret McDonald (1800- ?). At the age of 15, Margaret was a member of the Catholic Apostolic Church which was pastored by Edward Irving.
At this time, she had a vision of a ‘secret rapture.’ This was in 1830. In her handwritten account, she wrote: “…I saw it was just the Lord himself descending from Heaven with a shout, just the glorified man, even Jesus;…I saw the error to be, that men think that it will be something seen by the natural eye, but ‘tis spiritual discernment that is needed,…”
This doctrine of devils was the first time in prophetic history that it was said that Christ would NOT return gloriously and in his visible humanity.
Margaret’s pastor, Edward Irving (1792-1834) was a Presbyterian until he pulled out of this state church and formed a new movement (the Catholic Apostolic Church) emphasizing a return to New Testament spiritual gifts. He is known as the Father of Pentecostalism because he had in his church at this time a ‘restoration’ of prophecy, tongues, and other manifestations.
Irving had translated De Lacunza’s work from Spanish into English in 1827. (De Lacunza was the Jesuit priest who wrote under a Jewish alias.) While translating De Lacunza’s book, Irving would have read of splitting the Second Coming into two returns. It was shortly after this that he began to put forth this same idea which many objected to.
Irving’s pre-tribulation position was also greatly influenced by the vision of the 15-year old Margaret.
He wrote: “The substance of Mary Campbell’s and Margaret Macdonald’s visions or revelations, given in their papers, carry me to a spiritual conviction and a spiritual reproof that I cannot express.”
We now have THREE elements necessary for a pre-tribulation Rapture:
1. The Doctrine of Imminency – Rooted in Catholic allegory
2. A split Second Coming of Christ – Conceived by a Jesuit priest
3. A secret coming of Christ for His saints – Seen in a vision by a 15-year old Charismatic Catholic
But something is still lacking.