TPM teaches a weird version of the Pre-tribulation Rapture. As we had mentioned in all our articles of this series, the Bible does not teach a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. The Bible always teaches the Post-Tribulation Rapture. Therefore, let us dive deep into some historical evidence. What is the Historicity of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture?
The Origin of the Pre-tribulation Rapture Doctrine
Pretribulationism, with its “Secret Rapture” theory, is usually thought of as originating with the “Plymouth Brethren” movement in the British Isles about A.D. 1830. The pioneer popularizer of the view, if not the very originator of it, is believed to be John Nelson Darby, an early leader among the “Brethren.” But how did Darby reach his pre-tribulation conclusions?
The Story of the Pre-Trib Origin, as we know it.
- J N Darby discovered it in 1827 when he was recovering from some sickness
- After the Reformation, there was a teaching in the protestant circles about the Pope of Rome being the Anti-Christ. To offset this teaching, the Jesuits started writing books proving it otherwise. They had to remove the Pope from being the Anti-Christ figure. Jesuit Priest, Manuel de Lacunza (using the pen name “Ben-Ezra”) introduced the pre-trib rapture idea in his work, The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty (1812). This work was translated by Edward Irving from Spanish into English where he got the idea and began promoting it among his people. Later on a Teenage girl by name Margaret Macdonald prophecied about the pre-tribulation rapture and thereby gave the necessary boost for JN Darby to propagate this theory.
Irrespective of how the theory originated, we are expected to check it against the scripture and that is where it failed miserably. Ignorant TPM Pastors like A C Thomas popularized it within this cult with an exclusivity about a selective rapture. Of course, he cannot rest if the doctrine does not give a special treatment for the special so-called Apostles in white.
The Blunder of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Belief
In his summary of the historical argument, Bob Gundry states that
“The early Church received its doctrine directly from the apostles”, [and] “all the early fathers who touch upon final events speak with an explicitly Posttribulational accent and assume this to be the universal language in orthodox Christianity.”
This story of expecting a Return of Christ before the Tribulation is a seed spread by the devil. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that the deceived White Clads of TPM also got swept in the wind. The earliest records of Pre-Tribulation rapture teaching we have is from the 1830s which was popularised by John Nelson Darby, the famous Dispensationalist. Addressing the pre-tribulation belief, Alexander Reese writes:
“Yet the undeniable fact is that this ‘any-moment’ view of Christ’s Return only originated about 1830, . . . the mistaken theory of the Secret Coming and Rapture; but all down the centuries there had existed Christians who longed for the Revelation of Christ, whilst expecting that Antichrist would come first. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the first three centuries of the Church’s history. The first view that we have of the Church after the close of the Apostolic Age is that of a Community of Christians suffering for the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, separated from the world, and waiting for God’s Son from Heaven. But, consistent with this, they expected that Antichrist would be first revealed; and this idea that Christ’s approaching Advent would be followed, not by the rise, but by the destruction, of Antichrist, has been held by the saints all down the centuries.”
So now if someone asks you, What is the Historicity of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture? what would you reply? you should not have any doubt in answering that the doctrine is hardly 190 years old and was never taught by the Apostles of Christ or the Church fathers as we see it. Unfortunately, 99% of TPM people do not have any clue of the church history. For them, the Church Fathers are Paul, Alwin, A.C Thomas etc.
What did the Church Fathers teach?
Paul clearly warns us about this deceptive doctrine in 2 Thess 2:1-3. We have gone extensively into what the Apostles of Christ taught regarding this in the Series. Click here to read the entire series. The trail of the belief that the Church will go through the great tribulation has been carried over since through the lives of all real Christians. False Apostates whose hope is for this world(1 Cor 15:19) will follow the pre-trib rapture theory and be damned forever. I am quoting few of those below.
Justin Martyr, Dialog with Trypho, CX
“[T]wo advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering, inglorious, dishonoured, and crucified; but the other, in which He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians,…”Dialog with Trypho, CX
(There are only two comings, not three or four. Pre-trib believes in Christ coming 2,000 years ago, again to rapture the Church to heaven before the tribulation and then a third time to bring judgment on the nations. TPM also believes in a Mid-trib Rapture.)
Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, XXV, 3
Antichrist will reign 3-1/2 years and wear out the saints
“‘And its ten horns are ten kings which shall arise; and after them shall arise another, who shall surpass in evil deeds all that were before him, and shall overthrow three kings; and he shall speak words against the most high God, and wear out the saints of the most high God, and shall purpose to change times and laws; and [everything] shall be given into his hand until a time of times and a half time,’ that is, for three years and six months, during which time, when he comes, he shall reign over the earth. Of whom also the Apostle Paul again, speaking in the second [Epistle] to the Thessalonians, and at the same time proclaiming the cause of his advent, thus says: ‘And then shall the wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the spirit of His mouth, and destroy by the presence of His coming.'”Against Heresies, Book V, XXV, 3
Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V, XXV, 4
Antichrist will persecute the saints for the entire half of the week
“And then he points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God: ‘And in the midst of the week,’ he says, ‘the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation [shall be brought] into the temple: even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete.’ Now three years and six months constitute the half-week.“Against Heresies, Book V, XXV, 4
Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh, XXV
The Christian martyrs must wait until the Antichrist has completed his war on the Church and this includes the time of the vials of wrath. Our “hope is” at the very end of the world [age]
“In the Revelation of John, again, the order of these times is spread out to view, which ‘the souls of the martyrs’ are taught to wait for beneath the altar, whilst they earnestly pray to be avenged and judged: (taught, I say, to wait), in order that the world may first drink to the dregs the plagues that await it out of the vials of the angels, and that the city of fornication may receive from the ten kings its deserved doom, and that the beast Antichrist with his false prophet may wage war on the Church of God; and that, after the casting of the devil into the bottomless pit for a while, the blessed prerogative of the first resurrection may be ordained from the thrones; and then again, after the consignment of him to the fire, that the judgment of the final and universal resurrection may be determined out of the books. Since, then, the Scriptures both indicate the stages of the last times, and concentrate the harvest of the Christian hope in the very end of the world,…”On the Resurrection of the Flesh, XXV
Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book VII, Sec. II, XXXII
Christ’s coming for His saints and the resurrection occur at the same time when Antichrist is slain
“For in the last days false prophets shall be multiplied, and such as corrupt the word; and the sheep shall be changed into wolves, and love into hatred: for through the abounding of iniquity the love of many shall wax cold. For men shall hate, and persecute, and betray one another. And then shall appear the deceiver of the world, the enemy of the truth, the prince of lies, whom the Lord Jesus ‘shall destroy with the spirit of His mouth, who takes away the wicked with His lips; and many shall be offended at Him. But they that endure to the end, the same shall be saved. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven;’ and afterwards shall be the voice of a trumpet by the archangel; and in that interval shall be the revival of those that were asleep. And then shall the Lord come, and all His saints with Him, with a great concussion above the clouds, with the angels of His power, in the throne of His kingdom, to condemn the devil, the deceiver of the world, and to render to every one according to his deeds. ‘Then shall the wicked go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous shall go into life eternal,’ to inherit those things ‘which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, such things as God hath prepared for them that love Him;’ and they shall rejoice in the kingdom of God, which is in Christ Jesus.”Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book VII, Sec. II, XXXII
Some other Quotes from Early Christian Literature.
What did the later Church leaders teach?
The later church leaders also continue to teach what the Apostles and the Church Fathers taught. Needless to say, TPM believers who consider Ramankutty, Alwin, A.C Thomas etc as Church Fathers will be wondering what this admin guy is publishing. This article is not for the ones who are brainwashed and sold their brains to the White Clads. It is ONLY for those people who have started to THINK.
I told you that Christ would not come unless AntiChrist had come before.Epistle 21
The Time of Antichrist..will be a sign of the coming of Christ.Homilies on 1 Thessalonians 9
But he who reads this passage[Daniel 12], even half asleep, cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall, Fiercely through a short time assail the church…The City of God, XX, 23
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
There remains only ONE THING — that the demon of Noonday [ The Anti Christ] should appear to seduce those who still remain in ChristSermons on the Song of Songs 33,16
Roger Bacon (1214-1274)
…because of Future perils [for the church] in the time of AntichristOpus Majus II, Page 634
John Wycliffe (1320-1384)
Wherefore let us pray to God that he keep us in the hour of temptation which is coming upon all the World. Rev-iiiWritings of Reverend and Learned John Wycliffe DD Page 155
The quotations from Early Church fathers till the later church leaders regarding the coming of the Lord after the tribulation are exhaustive. We have much more of such quotations. However, I have a challenge to those people who chose to follow the teachings of false teachers like J N Darby.
Please give me One genuine quotation from the Church Fathers which support your view point.
I would like to close this with a Quotation from George Muller who publicly opposed J N Darby’s Dispensation and Pre-Tribulation rapture theory.
The Scripture declared plainly that the Lord Jesus will not come until the Apostasy shall have taken place and the man of sin…shall have been revealedMrs Muellers Missionary Tours and Labours, Page 148
With organizations like TPM ushering in Weird doctrines from the pit of hell, what more evidence we need about Apostasy?
End of “What is the Historicity of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture?”