Thursday, December 30, 2010

The History of a Heresy, Part 6: The Pre-Trib Rapture Comes to America

John Darby (1800-1882) was a member of the Church of England. Later, because of a perceived laxity in the church, he departed from Anglicanism to join the emerging Bible home study group movement known as the “Brethren Movement.” He was founder of the group known as the Plymouth Brethren.

Darby attended the Powerscourt prophecy conferences at Powerscourt Castle in Dublin, Ireland in 1830.

Pastor Irving, mentioned in a previous post, spoke at these conferences on the “Secret Coming Rapture.” It was here that Darby was most likely introduced to Irving’s ideas on the pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Irving died in 1834, and it was left to Darby to synthesize the various points of the pre-tribulation doctrine to bring it to its final form.

The doctrine of the pre-tribulation Rapture took a period of many years to finalize—between 1838 and 1845. It did not find easy acceptance, caused divisions and bred confusion during the years that Darby worked on it. Years later (1859-1874), Darby would take the message to America where it was readily accepted.

The early Niagara Bible Conferences annually met from 1883 to 1897 under the early pre-tribulationist Darby.

Here it should be noted once again that George Mueller was an early opponent of the pre-tribulation Rapture. Mueller was a man who had read through the Bible more than 200 times while on his knees. He had over 100,000 recorded answers to prayer. He started orphanages, missionary sending societies, tract and Bible printing ministries, and he pastored the same church for over sixty years.

Let us hear what this great man of God had to say…

Can there be any resurrection before the first one

and can there be another trump after the last one?”

George Mueller

(We'll look at George Mueller's quote again in the next post.)


  1. [Greets, Apantesis. I want to share what I found on the web.]

    Morgan Edwards' Rapture View

    by George Wilson

    In 1995, in a 24-page booklet on 18th century pastor Morgan Edwards, evangelist John Bray claimed that Edwards taught a pretrib rapture in his 1788 book titled "Two Academical Exercises...."
    Those echoing Bray include Thomas Ice who wrote "Morgan Edwards: Another Pre-Darby Rapturist." Edwards' 1788 work can be found on the internet.
    In order to claim that Edwards held to pretrib, candidates for the I-can-find-pretrib-earlier-in-church-history-than-you-can medal - including Bray, Ice, LaHaye, Frank Marotta etc. - have intentionally covered up Edwards' "historicism," his belief that the tribulation had already been going on for hundreds of years. (How can anyone in the tribulation go back in time and look for a pretrib rapture?)
    Here's proof of Edwards' historicism and its companion "day-year" theory which can view the 1260 tribulation "days" as "years."
    On p. 14 Edwards described the Ottoman Empire (which was then already 400 years old) as the Rev. 13:11 "beast." On p. 20 he defined "Antichrist" as the already 1000-year-old "popery" and the "succession of persons" known as "Popes" - his other Rev. 13 "beast." He necessarily viewed Rev. 13's 1260-day period as 1260 literal years in order to provide enough time for his two "beasts."
    On p. 19, while discussing "the ministry of the witnesses" of Rev. 11, he allotted "about 204 years" for their "years to perform" - years impossible to fit into a 3.5-year period!
    What about Edwards' rapture? On pp. 21-23 he wrote about "the appearing of the son of man in the clouds, coming to raise the dead saints and change the living, and to catch them up to himself....The signs of Christ's appearing in the clouds will be extraordinary 'wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines,' &. (Matth. xxiv. 6-8.)....The signs of his coming, in the heavens will be 'the trump of God [I Thess. 4:16], vapor and smoke, which will darken the sun and moon [Matt. 24:29],'...and also cause those meteors called 'falling stars'....
    Right after his combined rapture/advent (!), Edwards said: "And therefore, now, Antichrist...will...counterfeit the preceding wonders in heaven...causing 'fire to come down from heaven'....And that godhead he will now assume, after killing the two witnesses....Now the great persecution of the Jews will begin...for time, times, and half a time...."
    Thomas Ice's article on Edwards (see first par. above) quoted only the first 27 words in the above quotation, ending with "to himself." This sort of unethical revisionism is constantly employed by many pretrib defenders.
    Not only had most of Edwards' historicist tribulation occurred before his combined rapture/advent, but his Antichrist kept raging for 3.5 years even after the Matt. 24 signs! No wonder his tutor advised him to correct his thesis!
    To read Edwards' complete work, Google "[PDF] Two Academical"
    For more info on Edwards, Google "McPherson Page (" Also Google "Deceiving and Being Deceived" by historian Dave MacPherson.

  2. Hi,

    Could you kindly provide a bibliography/reference list for your statements. It would make it a lot easier to research and confirm. I already believe that the pre-tribulation rapture is heresy, but it would be very helpful if you could better document the sources of your statements as I would like to refer others to your work. Thank you! JR