In my last article, we explored the modern-day concept of the Rapture and detailed why a pre-tribulation rapture has little support in scripture. While this concept and its timing only grows by leaps and bounds as it continues to be a springboard for popular entertainment, today I’d like to detail how this concept became so prevalent in the modern Mainstream church, and more importantly why such an erroneous message is being taught and spread worldwide today.
Most modern-day Christians would be surprised to learn the concept of a pre-tribulation rapture did not come from scripture but primarily from the teachings of one man. That man was John Nelson Darby. Darby was a preacher that lived in England during the 1800’s and was instrumental in such important concepts such as dispensationalism among others. Darby’s concept took Paul’s passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 regarding Jesus’ return for his church and placed it erroneously in the very front and center before tribulation. Although the Apostle Paul very clearly states in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 this “rapture” event happens clearly after the rise on an AntiChrist who rules Earth over his rebuilt temple and AFTER the believers of Christ Jesus have risen against him. This is not a condemnation of a man who has influenced a great deal of the modern Protestant church, however, the truth is the truth and scripture should not be changed in order to support any opinion or vision, especially when it is not supported and reproved by scripture.
Many modern historians believe John Nelson Darby did not simply invent this theory but was inspired by another of his contemporaries, Margaret MacDonald, a Scottish native who claimed to have psychic abilities and visions from “God”, aside from numerous occult associations and connections. Margaret is often credited to have received the vision of a pre-tribulation rapture and conveyed this vision to Darby. Darby then took hold of this concept and expanded it fit into his dispensationalist worldview. Mr. Darby began traveling between Britain and the United states and, in turn, began to preach the concept which would be used by early Protestant and Pentecostal leaders as a new fiery version of the old “fire and brimstone” teachings which were popularized in the early 1900’s. On one such visit to the United States, Darby met Dr. James H. Brooks, a Presbyterian preacher who would become a mentor to Cyrus I. Scofield, the originator of Scofield Reference Bible, which would become the primary educational tool for pastors in the modern Protestant churches. As such, the concept was now permanently ingrained in the minds of the vast majority of preachers and their flock for generations to come.
For better or for worse, an entire concept with very questionable beginnings had now become a tenant of the modern-day fundamentalist church. Why would such a seemingly small concept have such a major impact on the biblical prophecy? The reason is simple – the enemy wants a weak and easily controlled opposition. Satan himself knows scripture and biblical prophecy better than the most seasoned teacher or prophet. The best tool he has at his disposal is deceit and carefully crafted lies strung up to appear as truth. The word of God’s position is clear on the role of the Christian prior to and during the end times. We are to be strong and bold and call out evil and fight openly against it. Based on the widely accepted theory of a pre-tribulation rapture among other false teachings, we now have a divided weak body of believers that falsely believe Jesus Christ is going to rescue them from persecution when things begin to unravel. Based on this false timeline, most modern-day Christians believe they will be caught up in the air far before the arrival of an AntiChrist figure takes his position of authority, whereas scripture tells us the exact opposite. As such, even the very elect will be deceived and many will worship the false “god” (or gods) and may even think him to be Christ Jesus himself, in the flesh. In my next article, we will explore how this false message took place and why it matters now, more than it ever has in our history on this planet.