Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Prophecy’

(blog under construction)

Years ago I took a class, where I learned about the many horrors of the Nazi Germany’s Holocaust. Readers here may not realize that many groups were slaughtered. Besides the Jewish community, other groups targeted were Christians, Gypsies, the unborn (the “hereditarily ill”), the mentally ill, the mentally handicapped, the elderly, etc.

Christians who do not hold to the historic premillenial eschatology (a post-Trib Rapture) seem to be in denial. Especially in America, Christians insist they will never go through a persecution unto death. Yet in our lifetimes we have seen the religious persecution and mass murder of millions of Christians and Jews (not only in Nazi Germany, but in the U.S.S.R., China, etc.).

And persecution is not the only area in which we as “End Times Christians” need to wake up. A wise person once wrote that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Thus, in many areas we would do well to study Nazi Germany as an historical model of the coming rule of the Antichrist. This is not “conspiracy theory” – this is fact, this is history.

Brannon Howse wrote an excellent article entitled “26 Similarities Between America and Nazi Germany” (I have reposted this article below). I would like to take Brannon Howse’ article further, beyond America and the Nazis. Why? Because America is no longer the political powerhouse it once was. In my mind it seems the most Antichristian powerhouses are in Europe (Germany, the U.K., the Vatican state, etc.). I believe Howse’ article “26 Similarities Between America and Nazi Germany” could be re-written to apply to any country of the world today – and even to “governmental” bodies such as the United Nations.

Regarding totalitarian regimes, I’m sure Nazi Germany is not the only model for the coming reign of the Antichrist – it is merely the most extreme model. Look at it this way. Assuming the Antichrist is somewhere in the world today, where would he look for guidelines on how to carry out his “reign of peace” which soon becomes a “reign of terror”? He would look to other totalitarian regimes throughout history, studying how they came to power and retained power.

Of course, this is too much for many of us to comprehend, thus these musings are labeled by many as “conspiracy theory.” Why are these things so difficult to envision as being true? In part, because we are not hard wired to think like criminals, let alone the most evil person in the history of mankind – the Antichrist.

Click here for the entire original text of Brannon Howse’ article, which I have  reposted below. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

26 Similarities Between America and Nazi Germany  

Three Forces Destroying the America We Know

By Brannon Howse

 This article was published in the January 2008 Worldview Weekend Digest … 

Even the most nominally aware person knows all too well that our nation-and the world-is engulfed in a major economic catastrophe. Thanks to the variety of factors at work, some observers have characterized it as the perfect economic storm. [Ironically, this article was written before the stock market disaster in Fall 2008.] Yet this drama is a mere thunder shower by comparison with a far more devastating potential that threatens to wreck not just the American dream but the entire American ideal. If this maelstrom reaches its full power, liberty and justice for all-to say nothing of the pursuit of happiness-will be wiped from the face of the earth.

A perfect cultural storm is developing from the convergence of three forces, any one of which would seriously harm our way of life. But together they portend the near certain doom of the most cherished American values. Socialism, pagan spirituality, and pragmatism have come together over the last several decades to produce a cataclysm waiting to happen.

Socialism imposes the redistribution of wealth and private property through an all-powerful, freedom-robbing central government. Pagan spirituality embraces the worship of nature along with occult practices and beliefs. Pragmatism proclaims that the truth or worth of an idea is based solely upon the results it brings (pragmatists believe that truth is relative, situational, and that a desired end justifies any means required to reach it). All three of these political, spiritual, and intellectual systems have taken a dominant place in the American worldview.

Doomsday-Again

It’s been said that if we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. There are those who have even compared the rumblings in America today as similar to those in pre-Nazi Germany of the 1930s. While I don’t buy the notion that our government might be ready to establish concentration camps, the storm clouds heading this way have brought ideas into our public policy, laws, and national consciousness that bear a frightening resemblance to what has gone before-in the worst of times. This same collection of worldviews laid a foundation for the atrocities and godless government of Hitler’s Germany.

Adolph Hitler, you’ll recall, established the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. He also bought into what I call One World Spirituality, a merging of the three worldviews of evolutionary humanism, Hindu pantheism, and occultism.

Atheism in America is no longer in vogue among our “intellectual elite.” It’s being replaced by the far more insidious pantheism-insidious because it is more acceptable to the masses than outright disbelief in God. Pantheism is on track to become the dominate worldview in America and around the world in very short order.

Similar Is as Similar Does

Please understand that I’m not sensationalizing when making these observations. First Chronicles 12:32 says men of the tribe of Issachar were called wise because they “understood the times and knew what God would have them to do.” To help you make your own assessment of the situation, I’ve distinguished 26 benchmark issues that clearly define the intensity of the tempest that is nearly upon us. And yes, there are obvious comparisons with the growth of Nazism in Germany. I will point them out unabashedly because it’s only reasonable to say so if something that looks similar to an earlier, dangerous historical parallel actually is similar. After all, storm warnings, by nature, foretell bad news.

As you read through my list, I invite you to understand the times and prepare to respond with a Biblical worldview.

1. In 1935, under Hitler’s rule, prayers ceased to be obligatory in schools. In 1962, The U.S. Supreme Court outlawed school prayer.

2. Hitler eliminated Christian holidays in the schools first by calling Christmas “Yuletide.” Most American public schools now call Christmas vacation a “winter break.”

3. Hitler took Easter out of schools and instead honored that time of year as the beginning of spring. It has likewise become common for schools in America to refer to time off at Easter as “spring break.”

4. Hitler controlled the church using intimidation and threats. A half-century ago, U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Baines Johnson, promoted a bill that included an amendment to use the Internal Revenue Service to remove the non-profit status of a church that speaks against the election of any specific political candidate.

5. Hitler enticed thousands of pastors to promote paganism in their congregations. Neopaganism is one of the fastest growing religions in America, doubling every 18 months according to a June 2008 article in The Denver Post.  Many American church-goers practice paganism such as “Christian” yoga, contemplative prayer, and walking a labyrinth. As evidence that church doors continue to open further to aberrant beliefs, a 2008 survey found that 57% of evangelicalsdo not believe Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

6. Hitler was an environmentalist and vegetarian. Marriages performed by the Nazi state frequently included blessings of “Mother Earth” and “Father Sky.” Today Americans increasingly accept radical environmentalism, pantheism, and the celebration of Earth Day.

7. Hitler was fascinated by eastern mysticism. Today an increasing number of American pastors encourage their followers to become “mystic warriors”.

8. Hitler believed in reincarnation. He even convinced SS officers that by murdering millions of Jews and other “undesirables” they were allowing them to get on with the reincarnation process and come back more quickly in an advanced status. Americans increasingly accept the idea of reincarnation as well as good and bad karma.

9. Hitler’s holocaust killed between 8 and 11 million Jews and non-Jews. Americans have killed an estimated 50 million babies since abortion was legalized through the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973. According to a July 7, 2008 article on worldnetdaily.com “An abortionist who claims to have destroyed more than 20,000 unborn children and who once was Hillary Clinton’s OB-GYN says he is doing ‘God’s work’ when he terminates a pregnancy…He admits that abortion kills a human soul.”

10. Hitler killed 270,000 handicapped people through active euthanasia.[1]America and the courts are rushing toward the same with the murder of individuals such as Terri Schiavo. Oregon voters passed their Death with Dignity Act in 1994 and re-affirmed it in 1997. Washington state voters legalized doctor-assisted suicide on November 4, 2008. In December 2008, a Montana judge ruled terminally ill residents of that state have the right to physician-assisted suicide, and “death with dignity” is gaining acceptance in other states as well.

11. By 1938, all private schools were abolished by Hitler and all education placed under Nazi control. There is constant pressure from federal and many state education authorities to require that Christian schools use state-mandated, humanistic textbooks. The Home School Legal Defense Association is fighting numerous battles at any given time to prevent parents from loosing the right to educate their children as they see fit. In August 2008, a federal district court ruled that the state of California university system may choose not to recognize the diplomas-and thereby deny college entrance to-students who attended a school using textbooks that express a Biblical worldview in the areas of history and science (i.e., Christian schools).

12. Hitler prevented dissenters from using radio to challenge his worldview. Many powerful liberals in America have made clear their intent to reintroduce the “Fairness Doctrine” that would require conservative and religious radio stations to offer equal time to anti-Christian, anti-conservative worldviews.

13. Pastors who spoke against Hitler’s worldview and his murderous regime found themselves on trial and frequently imprisoned for “Abuse of Pulpit.” In America, hate-crime legislation has the potential to criminalize Christians and pastors who speak out against the homosexual agenda.

14. Many Christians in Germany justified their allegiance to Hitler through a belief that “Their duty to God was spiritual; their duty to the state was political.”[2]Many American Christians now have bought the lie that their worldview can be divided between the secular and the sacred-the politician has one area of responsibility, the pastor another, and never shall the two meet. Yet the Bible teaches that all issues are fundamentally spiritual.

15. Hitler outlawed the cross and replaced it with the swastika. Today many churches, Christian colleges, and universities have willingly removed the cross from their buildings. Numerous court cases sponsored by the ACLU have required the removal of the cross from public grounds. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the Ten Commandments cannot be posted on public grounds for religious purposes.

16. Hitler was fascinated with Friedrich Nietzsche and distributed his writings to his inner circle. Nietzsche promoted Nihilism, the belief that life has no meaning, and he is best known for his position that “God is dead”. Nietzsche is presently one of the most widely read authors by American college students.

17. Hitler exploited the economic collapse of Germany to take over as dictator and usher in his brand of socialism. America’s financial crisis has given liberals in both political parties the opportunity to grow the size of government and implement freedom-robbing socialism at lightning speed.

18. Hitler was obsessed with globalism, and many of America’s most powerful political leaders are willing to subjugate American sovereignty to contemporary globalism.

19. Many Germans responded to Hitler by retreating into neutrality. Today most Americans prefer to remain neutral on moral issues that they think don’t affect them personally.

20. On trial after World War II, Hitler’s henchmen used the defense that they had not broken any laws. True, they had not defied the laws of Germany since those had been re-written to fit the goals and objectives of Hitler. The Nazi leaders were nevertheless found guilty because the courts at the time recognized a “law above the law.” Yet now the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the law of nature and nature’s God by claiming that as society evolves, morals evolve, and so the law, too, must evolve.

21. Calling upon Darwinian evolution, Hitler convinced the German people that purging millions of people was acceptable because of the need to create a pure race; also referred to as eugenics. American students across the board have been educated in Darwinian evolution because the Supreme Court has ruled that creation cannot be taught in our schools-even if both creation and evolution are taught side by side.

22. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood in America became acquainted with the doctors and scientists that had worked with Nazi Germany’s eugenics program and had no quarrel with the euthanasia, sterilization, abortion, and infanticide programs of the early Reich.[3]  Sanger even published several articles in Birth Control Review that reflected Hilter’s White Supremacist worldview. Planned Parenthood now grosses one billion per year.

23. In Germany, pastors often cited Romans 13:1-2 to encourage Christians to obey the Nazis. Today in America, many pastors have a false view of Romans 13:1-2 and have convinced millions that to disobey governing authorities is to disobey God. This poor training would facilitate Christians here doing just as the German Christians did if faced with similar challenges.

24. Germans accepted socialism to avoid pain. Today’s Americans are rejecting capitalism in exchange for government-sponsored “free” healthcare, education, and countless other government handouts.

25. Many Americans accept what I call, One World Spirituality. This is actually an amalgamation of the three worldviews of evolutionary humanism, Hindu pantheism, and occultism. I noted earlier that Hitler embraced all of these.

26. America is rushing toward government-sponsored, national healthcare. We already have a form of this in Medicare and Medicaid. Hitler, too, expanded and centralized Germany’s healthcare system. As Melchior Palyi explained, “The ill-famed Dr. Ley, boss of the Nazi labor front, did not fail to see that the social insurance system could be used for Nazi politics as a means of popular demagoguery, as a bastion of bureaucratic power, [and] as an instrument of regimentation.”

[Following are some additional similarities between America and Nazi Germany:

27. Hitler pressed for the confiscation of guns from Jews. According to Wikipedia, “the 1938 German Weapons Act … effectively deprived all Jews of the right to possess firearms or other weapons.” Today we see a continual pressure for more gun control laws in the U.S. And in the various countries of the United Kingdom today, no one is allowed to carry firearms.

28. Hitler pushed for book burning, destroying entire libraries of edifying materials, while publishing ungodly garbage such as Mein Kampf. In American society today, Christian books are banned from our public school classrooms (in the name of “separation of church and state”). Yet homosexual and occult garbage is allowed in every public school in the name of “freedom of speech.”

29. This article tells us, “In 1938 Nazi Germany passed a law requiring all children to attend public school to avoid “the emergence of parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions.”” This same article tells us that today the U.S. government is under pressure from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to discourage homeschooling.]

If the church in Germany had truly acted like the Church of Jesus Christ, if Christians had understood and lived out a Biblical worldview, Germany would never have accepted Hitler. I believe he would have been rejected and overthrown within weeks of his true worldview coming to light.

Most American church members today are simply reflect the culture instead of correcting and changing it. If we are to quiet the brewing storm, apathy, political correctness, and intellectual laziness must be replaced with a passion for Biblical truth, sound reasoning, logic, and the desire to lead.

Becoming a leader does not mean you must be on the radio, give speeches, or even stand up in front of a group. An effective influencer leads through his or her actions and lifestyle. Lovingly defending and proclaiming truth in a world bent on  political correctness is being a leader. Even in private conversation, leadership can take the form of lovingly correcting someone’s false beliefs or ideas.

America needs Christians now more than ever to take the lead. If not, the perfect storm is ready, and annihilation is what it portends.

_________________
[1]
Holocaust Museum Unveils New Eugenics Exhibit by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express, April 22, 2004.

[2] Dr. Irwin Lutzer, Hitler’s Cross, (Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1995) p. 111.

[3] George Grant, The Family Under Siege: What the New Social Engineers Have in Mind for You and Your Children (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1994), p 62.

FOR FURTHER READING [I located these resources, and am adding them to my reposting of Brannon Howse’ article]

STUDY OF ANTICHRIST AND HIS KINGDOM BY STUDYING ADOLF HITLER AND HIS KINGDOM — PART 1 — HITLER’S VIEW OF CHRISTIANITY AND THE CHURCH

STUDY OF ANTICHRIST AND HIS KINGDOM BY STUDYING ADOLF HITLER AND HIS KINGDOM — PART 2 — HITLER TARGETED THE YOUTH

STUDY OF ANTICHRIST AND HIS KINGDOM BY STUDYING ADOLF HITLER AND HIS KINGDOM — PART 3 — HITLER CHANGED THE TIMES AND SEASONS!

This is the Hand of God, Yet, They Repented Not

To Understand The Coming Antichrist, You Must Understand Adolf Hitler — The Ultimate “Type” Of The Coming False Messiah

Read Full Post »

I am premillenial, and in recent years have moved towards the historical (aka post-Trib) premillenial view. I believe premillenialism (whether historical premillenialism or dispensational premillenialism) is THE correct, biblical view of the End Times.

Amazingly, many evangelicals since the 1970s have been like sheep wondering blindly, following whatever heretical leader strikes their fancy. Emerging/Emergent, Reconstructionist and NAR Kingdom Now leaders have all promulgated postmillenial eschatologies, and evangelicals are flocking to these postmillenial views in droves.

What a tragedy – and shocking. Emerging/Emergent, Reconstructionist and NAR Kingdom Now postmillenial eschatologies are merging, helping lead evangelicals towards the One World Religion of the coming Antichrist. (I have blogged several times about the heresies of postmillenialism elsewhere on this blogsite.)

The fact is, Christ is coming back soon!  We are not headed towards a perfect, utopian world under the “reign of God” (the postmillenial view). On the contrary, we read this in the news every day: the world is getting worse and worse (and exponentially so), not better and better. We are headed quickly towards a One World religion,  economy, and government under the Antichrist. It will not be much longer after the rise of the Antichrist, that our God will say “enough is enough” and our Lord Jesus Christ will physically return to Earth.

God’s Word says: And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh (Luke 21:28, KJV).

Yet “postmillenial evangelicals” can be described by this passage:

48) But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49) And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;  50) The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,  51) And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 24:48-51, KJV)

In discussing various views of the Millenium, it helps to review the details of the various positions. To this end, I have reposted an article by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. summarizing the various millenial views. Click here for the original article. In my reposting below, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

“Summary Graphs of Millennial Views”, by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In this article I will summarily present the core distinctives of the four major evangelical views. Such summaries are easy to grasp and quite helpful for presenting the differences between the systems.

Amillennialism

[click on the diagram below for a larger view]

1. The Church Age is the kingdom which the Old Testament prophets predict. God expands his people from the one nation of Israel in the Old Testament to the universal Christian church of the New Testament, making this phase of God’s people the “Israel of God” (Gal 6:16).

2. Christ binds Satan during his earthly ministry at his first coming. His binding prevents Satan from stopping gospel proclamation. This allows for multitudes of sinners to convert to Christ and insures some restraint upon evil.

3. Christ rules spiritually in the hearts of believers. We may expect occasional, short-lived influences of Christianity on culture and society, especially when Christians live out the implications of their faith.

4. History will gradually worsen as evil’s growth accelerates toward the end. This will culminate in the great tribulation, with the arising of a personal Antichrist.

5. Christ will return to end history, resurrect all men, and conduct the Final Judgment, and establish the eternal order. The eternal destiny of the redeemed may be either in heaven or in a totally renovated new earth.

Historic Premillennialism

[click on the diagram below for a larger view]

1. The New Testament era church is the initial phase of Christ’s kingdom, which the Old Testament anticipates especially in its prophetic books.

2. The New Testament church may win occasional victories in history, but ultimately she will fail in her mission, lose influence, and become corrupted as worldwide evil increases toward the end of the current era, the Church Age.

3. The church will pass through a future, worldwide, unprecedented time of travail. During this period a personal Antichrist will arise, possessing great religious and political power. This era is known as the great tribulation, which will punctuate the end of contemporary history. Historic premillennialists differ significantly from dispensationalists in that their system is post-tribulational.

4. Christ will return at the end of the tribulation to rapture the church, resurrect deceased saints, and conduct the judgment of the righteous in the “twinkling of an eye.”

5. Christ then will descend to the earth with his glorified saints, fight the battle of Armageddon, bind Satan, and establish a worldwide, political kingdom, which Christ will personally administer for 1,000 years from Jerusalem. (Historic premillennialists often do not demand the Revelation’s 1000 years be a literal time frame.)

6. At the end of the millennial reign, Satan will be loosed and will cause a massive rebellion against the millennial kingdom and a fierce assault against Christ and his saints.

7. God will intervene with fiery judgment to rescue Christ and the saints. The resurrection and the judgment of the wicked will occur and the eternal order will begin. The eternal order may be either a recreated material new heavens and new earth, or it may be simply a heavenly environment.

Dispensationalism

[click on the diagram below for a larger view]

1. Redemptive history is divided up into seven categorically distinct dispensations, wherein God works with men under each dispensation in different ways. Hence, the name “dispensationalism.”

2. Christ offers renewed Davidic Kingdom — an earthly, political structure — to the Jews in the first century. They reject it, leading him to postpone it until the future.

3. The Church Age is a wholly unforseen and distinct era in the plan of God. It was altogether unknown to and unexpected by the Old Testament prophets.

4. God has a separate and distinct program and plan for racial Israel, as distinguished from the church. The church of Jesus Christ is a paren-thetical aside in the original plan of God.

5. The church may experience occasional small scale successes in history, but ultimately she will lose influence, fail in her mission, and become corrupt as worldwide evil intensifies toward the end of the Church Age.

6. Christ will return secretly in the sky to rapture living saints and resurrect the bodies of deceased saints (the first resurrection). He is removing them out of the world before the great tribulation. The judg-ment of the saints transpires in heaven during the seven-year great tribulation period before Christ’s bodily return to the earth.

7. At the conclusion of the seven-year great tribulation, Christ will return to the earth in order to establish and personally administer a Jewish political kingdom headquartered at Jerusalem for 1,000 years. During this time, Satan will be bound, and the temple and sacrificial system will be re-established in Jerusalem as memorials.

8. Toward the end of the Millennial Kingdom, Satan will be loosed so that he may surround and attack Christ at Jerusalem.

9. Christ will call down fire from heaven to destroy his enemies. The second resurrection and judgment of the wicked will occur, initiating the eternal order.

Postmillennialism

[click on the diagram below for a larger view]

[Note – The following points are an “ideal” postmillenialism where the gospel of salvation is truly preached, with people the world over repenting of their sins and being brought to a born again salvation experience. In the “real world”, today’s current postmillenial views (Emerging/Emergent, Reconstructionist and NAR Kingdom Now) all have heretical, twisted goals for the Milleniumnot the preaching of the gospel of salvation through the blood atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ, saving them from eternal damnation and giving them eternal life.]

1. Jesus Christ founds his Messianic kingdom on the earth during his earthly ministry and through his redemptive labors. His establishing the “kingdom of heaven” fulfills Old Testament prophetic expectations regarding the coming kingdom.

2. The kingdom is essentially redemptive and spiritual, rather than political and corporeal. Although it has implications for the political realm, postmillennialism is not political, offering a kingdom in competition with geo-political nations for governmental rule.

3. The kingdom will exercise a transformational socio-cultural influence in history. This will occur as more and more people convert to Christ, not by a minority revolt and seizure of political power in history nor by the catastrophic imposition of Christ at his second advent from outside of history.

4. Postmillennialism expects the gradual, developmental expansion of Christ’s kingdom in time and on earth before the Lord returns to end history. This will proceed by a full-orbed ministry of the Word, fervent and believing prayer, and the consecrated labors of Christ’s Spirit-filled people.

5. Postmillennialism confidently anticipates a time in earth history (continuous with the present) in which the very gospel already operating will win the victory throughout the earth, fulfilling the Great Commission.

6. After this extended period of gospel prosperity, earth history will draw to a close by the personal, visible, bodily return of Jesus Christ (accompanied by a literal resurrection and a general judgment) to introduce his blood-bought people into the consummative and eternal form of the kingdom. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Read Full Post »

(blog under construction)

I was brought up believing in a Pre-Trib Rapture. I did not learn until the 1980s that the Pre-Trib Rapture was a very recent theory, popularized in the 1800s.

One caveat: although I now hold to the Post-Trib view, I am not dogmatic regarding my eschatology. I feel comfortable fellowshipping with all premillenial Christians – whether they be Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, or Post-Trib.

Click here for the original text of the following article. I have corrected the grammar in a few places. Also, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

The Origin Of The Pretribulational Rapture Theory

Ed F. Sanders


1. Origins

There have been many articles, essays, and books written about the origin of the pretrib rapture teaching. The most prevalent theories among scholars are:

1. that the doctrine began within the Irviningite sect in England in the early 1800’s (see article by George Ladd, article by Art Katterjohn)
2. that it originated in the Plymouth Brethren movement from the teachings of John Nelson Darby in the early 1800’s.
3. that it originated with a Mr. Tweedy, who passed it on to Darby and the Plymouth Bretren [sic]
4. that it originated with aberrant Catholic theologians (Jesuit priests) Ribera and Emmanuel Lucanza, see article by J.P. Eby)
5. that it originated with a Baptist minister named Morgan Edwards in 1788 (1).
6. The doctrine started in the early church with a writer called Pseudo-Ephraim. (The author of this work is unknown (hence, ‘pseudo’), its conclusions uncertain, and the date written is in question. Of all the ‘theories’ this is the least credible (2)).

One thing is clear from the available historical documents: Darby, called the ‘father of dispensationalism’, was responsible for the widespread dissemination of the new and novel pretrib doctrine beginning around 1830 through his ministry in the Plymouth Brethern movement. The doctrine soon spread to America and was widely popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible.

In my mind the final word on the origin of the pretrib teaching cannot be known with 100% certainty based on the documents available. I think that the best explanation is summarized by Timothy P. Weber (Memphis Theological Seminary) who wrote:

 “The pretribulation rapture……historians are still trying to determine how or where Darby got it. . . . Possibly, we may have to settle for Darby’s own explanation. He claimed that the doctrine virtually jumped out of the pages of Scripture once he accepted and consistently maintained the distinction between Israel and the church”. (Timothy P. Weber, Living In The Shadow Of The Second Coming: American Premillennialism 1875-1982. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1983, pp. 21-22).

John Nelson Darby commenting on 2 Thess. 2:1-2 in 1850:

 “It is this passage which, twenty years ago, made me understand the rapture of the saints before — perhaps a considerable time before — the day of the Lord, that is, before the judgment of the living.” (3)

So, according to Darby he held a different view until 1830 when he came to understand the pretrib rapture doctrine. Until further documentation turns up it seems then most likely that John Nelson Darby originated the pretrib teaching and was responsible for its wide distribution in the years that followed.

2. Quotes from early Plymouth Brethren: (contemporary with Darby)

Under “The First Appearances of Secret Rapture Teaching” on page 45 of B. W. Newton and Dr. S. P. Tregelles – Teachers of the Faith and the Future (2nd Edition, 1969, The Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony, London) George H. Fromow says, “Dr. S. P. Tregelles has recorded for us the origin of this teaching in his book The Hope of Christ’s Coming, How is is Taught in Scripture and Why? (page 35 of the fifth edition).

“Dr. Tregelles further wrote:  ‘When the theory of a secret coming of Christ was first brought forward (about the year 1832), it was adopted with eagerness; it suited certain preconceived opinions, and it was accepted by some at that which harmonized contraditory [sic] thoughts, whether such thoughts, or any of them, rested on the sure warrant of God; [sic] written Word”.

There follows the quotation given above by Mr. Kelly.

Mr. Fromow goes on to opine, “If the exactterms [sic] used by Dr. Tregelles are noted, allowance can be made, that suggestions of a ‘secret coming’ were put forth a few years earlier, some say at the first Albury conference in 1826; but the precise date does not alter the fact that it was a novel doctrine”.

3. More Quotes regarding the origin of the pretrib rapture theory:

[I have rearranged these individuals alphabetically]

F. F. Bruce: well known Plymouth Brethren historian and theologian says: “Where did he [Darby] get it? The reviewer’s answer would be that it was in the air in the 1820s and 1830s among eager students of unfulfilled prophecy”. (Book Review of The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin in The Evangelical Quarterly, (Vol. XLVII, No. 1).

Robert Cameron: “Now, be it remembered, that prior to that date, no hint of any approach to such belief can be found in any Christian literature from Polycarp down…. Surely, a doctrine that finds no exponent or advocate in the whole history and literature of Christendom, for eighteen hundred years after the founding of the Church – a doctrine that was never taught by a Father or Doctor of the Church in the past – that has no standard Commentator or Professor of the Greek language in any Theological School until the middle of the Nineteenth century, to give it approval, and that is without a friend, even to mention its name amongst the orthodox teachers or the heretical sects of Christendom – such a fatherless and motherless doctrine, when it rises to the front, demanding universal acceptance, ought to undergo careful scrutiny before it is admitted and tabulated as part of ‘the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.” (Robert Cameron, Scriptural Truth About The Lord’s Return, page 72-73).

Harry Ironside(4): In 1908 Ironside claimed Darby had rediscovered the apostolic teaching lost to the church: “Until brought to the fore through the writings and the preaching and teaching of the distinguished ex-clergyman, Mr. J. N. Darby, in the early part of the last century, [the pretribulational rapture] is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon throughout a period of sixteen hundred years! If any doubt this statement, let them search, as the writer has in measure done, the remarks of the so-called Fathers, both pre- and post-Nicene, the theological treatises of the scholastic divines, Roman Catholic writers of all shades of thought; the literature of the reformation; the sermons and expositions of the Puritans; and the general theological works of the day. He will find “the mystery” conspicuous by its absence”. (Harry A. Ironside, The Mysteries of God, New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1908, pp 50–51).

Philip Mauro: “The entire system of ‘dispensational teaching’ is modernistic in the strictest sense; for it first came into existence within the memory of persons now living; and was altogether unknown even in their younger days; It is more recent than Darwinism.”“A system of doctrine that contradicts what has been held and taught by every Christian expositor and every minister of Christ from the very beginning of the Christian era—suddenly made its appearance in the later part of the nineteenth century”.”

Alexander Reese: “About 1830 a new school arose within the fold of Premillennialism that sought to overthrow what, since the Apostolic Age, have been considered by all premillennialist as established results, and to institute in their place a series of doctrines that had never been heard of before. The school I refer to is that of ‘The Brethren’ or ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ founded by J. N. Darby.” (Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, page 18)

Charles C. Ryrie: a dispensational theologian writes: “The distinction between Israel and the Church leads to the belief that the Church will be taken from the earth before the beginning of the tribulation (which in one major sense concerns Israel).” (Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, pp. 158-160). (That seems to fit with the theory that Darby originated the teaching based on his dispensational hermeneutic. Ed.)

E. R. Sandeen: “Darby introduced into discussion at Powerscourt (1833) the ideas of a secret rapture of the church and of a parenthesis in prophetic fulfillment between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks of Daniel. These two concepts constituted the basic tenets of the system of theology since referred to as dispensationalism” (E.R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism 1800-1930, University of Chicago Press, 1970)

Edmund Shackleton: All who held the premillennial Coming of Christ were, till about sixty years ago, of one mind on the subject. About that time a new view was promulgated that the Coming of Christ was not one event, but that it was divided into stages, in fact, that Christ comes twice from heaven to earth, but the first time only as far as the air. This first descent, it is said, will be for the purpose of removing the Church from the world, and will occur before the Great Tribulation under Antichrist. This they call “The coming for His saints” or “Secret Rapture.” The second part of the Coming is said to take place when Christ appears in glory and destroys the Antichrist. This they call “The coming with His saints.”

Apart from the test of the Word, which is the only final one, there are certain reasons why this doctrine should be viewed with suspicion. It appears to be little more than sixty years old; and it seems highly improbable that if scriptural it could have escaped the scrutiny of the many devoted Bible students whose writings have been preserved to us from the past. More especially in the writings of the early Christian fathers would we expect to find some notice of this doctrine, if it had been taught by the Apostles; but those who have their works declare that they betray no knowledge of a theory that the Church would escape the Tribulation under Antichrist, or that there would be any “coming” except that spoken of in Matthew 24, as occurring in manifest glory “after the Tribulation.” This is all the more significant, because these writers bestowed much attention upon the subject of the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. Augustine, referring to Daniel 7, wrote: “But he who reads this passage even half asleep cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church.” (Edmund Shackleton, Will the Church Escape the Great Tribulation?  pp. 31, 32, cited by Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, p. 231.)

A. W. Tozer: “Here is a doctrine that was not known or taught until the beginning of this century and it is already causing splits in churches.”

John Walvoord: thinks the pretrib rapture theory originated from Darby’s understanding of ecclesiology: “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 as 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”. (Walvoord, The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation, p. 47.)

4. Implications!

Sometimes overlooked are the implications of the pretrib rapture recent origins. In my book Outline Studies On The Rapture Question (1973) I wrote “Search the pages of Church history and literature, and you will not find one mention of the Lord coming before the Tribulation until after 1800. No one has ever cited any literature, writings, or quotes to the contrary! The implications of this truth are serious. If the Pre-Tribulation doctrine were true, it would mean that it was hidden from the church for 19 centuries. Not one of the brilliant theologians or Bible teachers before the 1800’s were able to find a Pretrib rapture and coming of the Lord on the pages of Holy Scripture—an incredulous improbability to say the least!”


(1). Some scholars like John L. Bray promote the theory that the pretrib teaching originated with a Baptist minister named Morgan Edwards in 1788. A close analysis of his writing Millennium, Last-Novelities clearly does not outline end-time events as found in the teachings of Darby, Scofield, Walvoord, etc. See the analysis by Tim Warner in his article on Morgan Edwards.

(2) For more information on the pre-Darby pretrib theories see my friend Dave MacPherson’s article Deceiving And Being Deceived.

(3) Cited by Wm Kelly in The Rapture of the Saints: Who Suggested It, Or Rather On What Scripture? The Bible Treasury, New Series, vol. 4, p. 314-318.

(4) Harry Ironside (1876-1951) was an ardent pretrib dispensationalist, prolific writer, and former pastor of Moody Memorial Church.

(5) This was written in 1973 before the various claims of a pre-Darby pretrib rapture were widely known. But even if Morgan Edwards or one of the Jesuit priests taught the pretrib rapture theory before the 1800’s it would mean that the doctrine was hidden from the Church for more than 1600+ years!

Updated 7-24-2011

www.theologue.org

FOR FURTHER READING

The Rapture, the Tribulation and Christ’s Churchincludes a number of links to additional Post-Trib articles

Who’s Who in Prophecy – A huge list, this article gives positive ratings to Pre-Tribbers only.  Although I may not agree with the negative way Post-Tribbers are rated, the list provides a great deal of info on a number of Bible prophecy authorities, holding many different views. I see some big  names are not included, such as Berit Kjos.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: