First, a few Bible verses to show that pretribulation doesn’t work
Matthew 24:29IMMEDIATELY AFTER the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they (the angels) shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
1 Cor. 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the (2nd) coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (The AntiChrist)4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:17Then we which are ALIVE and REMAIN (from Tribulation) shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Revelation 7:14And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these whichare arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Here are names of writers to be very cautious about since they have been guilty of a lot of plagiarizing, historical document revisionism , misquoting of others (and other dishonesty) and most importantly due to their refusal to admit these errors in their writings; Tim LaHaye (the same person who wrote the famous Left Behind series which gave him a substantial income) Thomas Ice and Todd Strandberg. They all believe in a pretribulation rapture. I say this so you won’t be deceived by them.
A Counter-Reformation, the Jesuit Commission and possible events leading up to the false teaching
In 1545, the Catholic Church convened one of its most famous councils in history, which took place north of Rome in a city called Trent. One of the main purposes of this Council was for Catholics to plan a counterattack against Martin Luther and the Protestants. This warfare only confirmed in the minds of Protestants the conviction that Papal Rome was indeed the Beast which would “make war with the saints” (Revelation 13:7). Therefore a new tactic was needed, something less obvious. This is where the Jesuits come in. On August 15, 1534, Ignatius Loyola founded a secretive Catholic order called the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. Jesuit priests have been known throughout history as the most wicked political arm of the Roman Catholic Church. At the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church gave the Jesuits the specific assignment of destroying Protestantism and bringing people back to the Mother Church. This was to be done not only through the Inquisition and through torture, but also through theology.
At the Council of Trent, the Jesuits were commissioned by the Pope to develop a new interpretation of Scripture that would counteract the Protestant application of the Bible’s Antichrist prophecies to the Roman Catholic Church. Francisco Ribera (1537-1591), a brilliant Jesuit priest and doctor of theology from Spain, basically said, “Here am I, send me”. In 1590, Ribera published a commentary on the Revelation as a counter-interpretation to the prevailing view among Protestants which identified the Papacy with the Antichrist. Ribera applied all of Revelation but the earliest chapters to the end time rather than to the history of the Church. Antichrist would be a single evil person who would be received by the Jews and would rebuild Jerusalem. Following close behind Francisco Ribera was another brilliant Jesuit scholar, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) of Rome. In his lectures, he agreed with Ribera. The futurists’ school won general acceptance among Catholics. Through the work of these two tricky Jesuit scholars, we might say that a brand new baby was born into the world. In fact, Francisco Ribera has been called the Father of Futurism.
For almost 300 years after the Council of Trent, Jesuit Futurism remained largely inside the realm of Catholicism, but the plan of the Jesuits was that these theological tenets be adopted by Protestants. This adoption process actually began in the early 1800s in England, and from there it spread to America. Dr. Samuel Roffey Maitland (1792-1866), a lawyer and Bible scholar, became a librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is very likely that one day he discovered Ribera’s commentary in the library. In any event, in 1826 he published a widely-read book attacking the Reformation and supporting Ribera’s idea of a future one-man Antichrist.
After Dr. Maitland came James H. Todd, a professor of Hebrew at the University of Dublin. Todd accepted the futuristic ideas of Maitland, publishing his own supportive pamphlets and books. Then came John Henry Newman (1801-1890), a member of the Church of England and a leader of the famous Oxford Movement (1833-1845). Through the influence of Maitland, Todd, Newman, and others, a definite “Romeward movement was already arising, destined to sweep away the old Protestant landmarks, as with a flood.
Why many are deceived to believe in the pretribulation rapture today
According to Bob Gundry and Dave MacPherson, Edward Irving (1792-1834) was most likely the first to publicly make the suggestion of a pretribulational rapture of the Church. When Irving turned to the prophecies, he eventually accepted the one-man Antichrist idea of Todd, Maitland, Bellarmine, and Ribera, yet he went a step furter! As a Presbyterian minister of the Church of Scotland, he attended the prophetic conferences (1826-1830) held by Henry Drummond at Albury Park, England. When Irving first suggested the secret coming of Christ, the controversial idea split those in attendance into factions. Somewhere around 1830, Edward Irving began to teach the unique idea of a two-phase return of Christ, the first phase being a secret rapture prior to the rise of the Antichrist.
In the midst of this growing anti-Protestant climate in England, there arose a man by the name of John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). A brilliant lawyer, pastor, and theologian, he wrote more than 53 books on Bible subjects. He became one of the leaders of a group in Plymouth, England, which became known as the Plymouth Brethren. Darby’s contribution to the development of evangelical theology has been so great that he has been called The Father of Modern Dispensationalism. Yet John Nelson Darby, also became a strong promoter of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture followed by a one-man Antichrist. In his book The Irrationalism of Infidelity (1853), pp. 283-5, he describes in great detail his visit with Margaret MacDonald in her home in Scotland in mid-1830 and talked about her endtime outlook and the Scriptural texts she used for support. Irving and Darby, through the influences of MacDonald, are the main reason to why people have been deceived into believing in pretribulation rapture today since this false idea started with them.
One of the most important figures in this whole drama is Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921), a Kansas lawyer who was greatly influenced by the writings of Darby. In 1909, Scofield published the first edition of his famous Scofield Reference Bible. In the early 1900s, this Bible became so popular in American Protestant Bible schools that it was necessary to print literally millions of copies. Yet, in the much-respected footnotes of this very Bible, Scofield injected large doses of the fluid of Futurism also found in the writings of Darby, Todd, Maitland, Bellarmine, and Ribera. Through the Scofield Bible, the Jesuit child reached young adulthood. The doctrine of an Antichrist still to come was becoming firmly established inside 20th-century American Protestantism.
The Moody Bible Institute and the Dallas Theological Seminary have strongly supported the teachings of John Nelson Darby, and this has continued to fuel Futurism’s growth. Then in the 1970s, Pastor Hal Lindsey, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, released his blockbuster book The Late Great Planet Earth. This 177-page, easy-to-read volume brought Futurism to the masses of American Christianity, and beyond. The New York Times labeled it “The number one best-seller of the decade”. Over 30 million copies have been sold, and it has been translated into over 30 languages. Through The Late Great Planet Earth, Jesuit Futurism took a strong hold over the Protestant Christian world.The book and the series Left Behind is now teaching much of the same Jesuit Futurism as Francisco Ribera, which is hiding the real truth about the Antichrist.
FRANCISCO RIBERA (1537-1591), FUTURISM
JESUIT Priest and Doctor of Theology
The Spanish Ribera was a Jesuit, a doctor of theology, who started writing (1585) a 500 page commentary on the book of Revelation six years before his death (1591). In his commentary, Ribera believed that the rapture would occur 45 days before the end of the 3-1/2 year tribulation period (also shades of the future PreWrath doctrine). This was the first time the second coming was split into two separate comings, one for the Church and then one at the end of the age with the raptured Church returning with Christ in wrath.
CARDINAL ROBERT BELLARMINE (1542-1621), FUTURISM
JESUIT Scholar, the most prominent of his time
Also during this period, acclaimed Jesuit apologist Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, wrote “Polemic Lectures Concerning the Disputed Points of the Christian Belief Against the Heretics of This Time.” His purpose in doing so was to refute the Historic theory of figuring Daniel’s 1260, 1290 and 2300 days as years, relegating these to actual days, e.g., 1260 days, etc. By doing so, the reign of Antichrist was pushed into a future time and negated Catholicism and its pope as the man of sin and his system during his time.
MANUEL DE LACUNZA (1731-1801), FUTURISM, JESUIT Priest
In a book titled, “Hidden Beast 2,” E. H. Scolfield writes “There was a Spanish family living in Chili named de Lacunzas. In the year of our Lord, 1731, they had a baby boy. Fifteen years later, the lad was sent to Spain to become a Jesuit priest. Twenty-two years later after that, in 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from Spain because of their brutality. The now Father Manuel de Lacunza y Diaz had to move. He went to Imola, Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life. In Imola, he claimed to be a converted Jew. Under the alias of ‘Rabbi Ben Ezra‘ he wrote a book. The title: ‘The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty.’ In that book he theorized that the church would be ‘raptured’ (taken up to be with the Lord) some 45 days before the real return of Jesus to the Earth. During that 45 days (while the church was in heaven with the Lord) God would judge the wicked still on earth.”
This last sentence shows shades of PreWrath doctrine of today, though that was put together during the 1990s. Lacunza wrote his manuscript in Spanish and it was published in 1812 under a pseudo-name, Juan Josafa [Rabbi] Ben-Ezra. By doing so, his book would more easily be accepted by Protestantism. This proved true as it was placed on Rome’s Index of prohibited books, which only made it sought out by the Protestants.
Lacunza emphasized a return to interpreting prophecy literally from the Futurist viewpoint. He wrote of a future Antichrist and a 1260-day (literal days) tribulation, events just preceding the coming of the Lord. He wrote in opposition to the ‘year-day’ theory of the Historicists (1260 days = 1260 years). He did not promote a pretribulational rapture of the saints at the future time of the Antichrist. His rapture of the saints occurred 45 days before the end of Daniel’s 70th week, probably an influence from Ribera. Lacunza’s book would have a dramatic influence on Edward Irving and his formation of the Pretribulation doctrine. It most likely influenced Irving to add another coming of Christ to the one described in Scripture.
MORGAN EDWARDS (1722-1795), FUTURISM
Edwards believed many events described in Revelations took place shortly after they were written down, so NATURALLY this made him describe Biblical events in a very “pretribulationistic” way. He wrote the earliest paper on the Pretribulation doctrine, using no references to anyone in the past. It was not written as a document to be seriously considered as the following will show:
“The earliest published reference to a pre-tribulation rapture occurred in 1788. Around 1740, a young Baptist named Morgan Edwards wrote an essay for eschatology class on his views of Bible prophecy. This essay was later published in Philadelphia (178 under the following title: Two Academical Exercises on Subjects Bearing the following Titles; Millennium, Last-Novelties. In the article, Edwards made statements which expounded his views concerning a pre-tribulation gathering of the Church. As far as can be determined, Edwards views concerning a pre-trib rapture gained no notoriety nor was this doctrine given any credence in the Church” (The Fallacy of Rapture Theology as revealed by the Word of God by David Redmond).
Tim Warner gives ample reason why Morgan’s writings on a Pretrib rapture were NOT taken seriously by anybody (read more here):
Christians are warned to not take the mark of the beast or they will lose their salvation
Many Christians will fall away (Matt. 24:9-10, 2 Thess. 2:3) during the latter days, and many will overcome by dying martyrs at that time (Rev. 7:9-17) and that will occur before the rapture (Rev. 20:4-6).
Rev. 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;—13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
(About the beast) Rev. 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the SAINTS, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.—13:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the PATIENCE and the faith of the SAINTS.
Rev. 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, IF any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:12 Here is the PATIENCE of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
Rev. 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Why would we be given the following warning if true born against christians will never take the mark of the Beast – based on the idea that they can never fall away and lose their salvation? Probably because they DO risk to fall away and lose their salvation:
Rev. 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Common arguments for the pretribulaton rapture
1) Jesus promised the church the following: Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Rev 3:10) Jesus said that he would keep Christians from this hour of trial coming on the whole earth.
ANSWER: The Greek word found in Rev.3:10 and translated keep you from is also found at John 17:11 and 17:15 and can mean keep THROUGH. We are not promised that we will not be part of the tribulation but we will be carried through.
2) Jesus will come at an hour where we do not expect him, Mat. 24:44. If He was coming at some time other than pre-trib, we would know when He was coming.
ANSWER: We are told that Jesus return will be much like in the days of Noah, and people were much unprepared for the flood precisely because they were wicked sinners who did not listen to Noah’s warnings. If we adhere to the warnings (“watch therefore”) then we will be more prepared, just like Noah was. When Jesus returns, then there will indeed be sheep and goats that will suddenly be separated. We must also compare with other Scriptures:
Mark 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.26 And THEN shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
According to this Scripture, the gathering of the elect from earth to heaven (the rapture) cannot happen until first there is a radical change in the way we currently view the sun, moon and stars. That change will occur after the tribulation. We are actually assured the day will NOT come unexpectedly IF we make sure we are prepared for it:
Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
3) In Luke 21:36 Jesus taught “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
ANSWER: What the saints will escape is what comes after the rapture, which is the wrath of God IF they take heed and obey Jesus prior to it. The tribulation is not the wrath of God. The wrath of God begins at the overlapping point of Rev. 11:18 and Rev. 6:17, which is after the tribulation.
Rev. 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Rev. 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
4) The church will depart before the antichrist is revealed as per 2 Thess. 2:7,8
ANSWER: The following can be read prior to this verse:
2 Thess. 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition
It doesn’t say that the church will depart prior to the rapture. At least two events must precede the gathering of the saints to heaven (the rapture) (1) apostasy and (2) the revealing of the antichrist.
The Bible predicts a “great Apostasy” before the rapture occurs in 2 Thess 2. If the rapture happens at the beginning of the tribulation, then we should not to find any mention of a trumpet after the tribulation begins. But we do.
Mt 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken—31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Mt 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
The city of the new Jerusalem will come down to earth and the saints will already be here on earth.