Historical Review, How The Second Coming of Jesus Christ Has Been Distorted
Kato Mivule
October 30, 2007

Discerning the Signs of the Times: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ…

Matthew 16:1-4
(1) The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
(2) He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
(3) And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
(4) A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

One of the most distorted teachings of Jesus Christ by false teachers and false prophets of our day has been the teaching of Jesus Christ concerning His Second Coming. Almost every Christian denomination has on earth today has its own spin on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Take Heed that NO MAN DECEIVES YOU…
However, as we are going to see, such distortions come from a spirit of error and deceit, and we must stand guard against such lies. Jesus Christ taught clearly about His Second Coming and what would happen before He physically comes.

Jesus Christ clearly warned us that we should NOT BE DECEIVED concerning this matter. Paul, the apostle also affirms the same warning that NO MAN SHOULD DECEIVE US concerning this matter. The issue is that in these last days there would be many deceivers who would come to teach lies, error, and deceit concerning The Second Coming of Jesus Christ…

Matthew 24:3-5
(3) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
(4) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
(5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Mark 13:3-6
(3) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
(4) Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
(5) And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
(6) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Luke 21:7-8
(7) And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
(8) And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-15
(13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
(14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
(15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
(1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the 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;

When one accepts the Teachings of Jesus Christ concerning His Second Coming, then they realize that they will have to deal with the repercussions and that means accepting the fact that certain events have to happen before Jesus Christ comes the Second Time. These events include wars, rumors of wars, famine, hunger, earthquakes, and to the Christian, enduring severe persecution and tribulation.

One then realizes that the Teachings of Jesus Christ concerning His Second Coming leaves no room for a comfortable life and no room for the prosperity and feel-good positive possibility thinking gospel. As such, so-called Christian denominations have come up with their own versions on The Second Coming of Jesus Christ to suite the feelings of their congregations while negating the Teachings of Jesus Christ concerning this very essential subject.

The Pharisees Missed Out on The First Coming of Messiah…
The Pharisees and Scribes did the same mistake. If they had carefully studied prophesies concerning the coming of the Messiah, they would not have missed out on the visitation of Jesus Christ during their time.

When one reads the prophesies concerning Jesus Christ from the Prophets like Isaiah, one realizes that Jesus Christ was not going to be born as a King but in humility and would live a life of sufferings and sorrow up to death on the cross and then rise again after three days. However, the Pharisees ignored such prophesies of scripture simply because it did not square well with their lifestyles. The Pharisees looked for a Messiah who would deliver them from Roman Rule and also cement their established man made religion.

The Pharisees did not want to deal with the fact that The Messiah would have to go through sufferings. The Pharisees did not want anything to do with the sufferings of The Messiah. They did not want to deal with the fact that the Messiah would not deliver them out of Roman Rule. As such they rejected every sign of the times that pointed to the First Coming of Jesus Christ and all signs that pointed to Jesus Christ as The True Messiah.

Christians today are repeating the Mistake of the Pharisees…
The same thing is happening today in Christendom. It is like history repeating itself, only this time that Christendom has rejected all signs pointing to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and if they believe in the Second Coming, they have distorted the Teachings of Jesus Christ (in first person) concerning this matter…

Many in Christendom will be caught off guard concerning The Second Coming of Jesus Christ because of the false teachings that have found their way into the church concerning this matter. Just like the Pharisees failed to DISCERN the First coming of The Messiah, so have many Christians today failed to DISCERN the Signs of the Times concerning the Second coming of Jesus Christ…

Pre Tribulation is a popular deceptive doctrine…
The Most prevalent and popular doctrine concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in Christendom is the Pre Tribulation Rapture Doctrine that theorizes that Jesus Christ will return secretly to rapture the saints out of this world before the seven year tribulation begins. They further theorize that the saints who remain will be martyred and then Jesus Christ will physically return the third time at the battle of Armageddon.

However, such a doctrine totally contradicts what Jesus Christ taught about His Second Coming. It also contradicts what the Apostles taught concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This pre tribulation teaching also contradicts what the early church fathers from around 100 AD to 300 AD taught concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

Catholic Church Heresy…
It is interesting that with the advent of the Roman Catholic Church in 313 AD, the Doctrine of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ was watered down or negated altogether.
The Catholic Church with the help of Augustine is said to have introduced the Amillennialism Doctrine that Jesus Christ would return at the end of the age to judge but there would not be a literal 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on Earth…

“Proponents of the rapture insist that the doctrine of amillennialism originated with Alexandrian scholars such as Clement and Origen and was later brought wholly into Roman Catholic dogma by Augustine. Hence, the church up until then held to premillennial views, which see an impending apocalypse from which the church will be rescued after being raptured by the Lord. This is even extrapolated by some to mean that the early church espoused pretribulationism.” [1]

According to Catholic Doctrine, Amillennialism is the most consistent with the Catholic Teachings on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Pre Millennial Teaching is rejected by the Catholic Church. This is not surprising, that the Catholic Church always rejects The True Teachings of Jesus Christ so as to hold to the Traditions of Men…

“ Amillennialism – this view also interprets the “thousand years” symbolically, but, ulike the pre and post views, not as a golden age on earth. This view believes the millennium is the period of Christ’s rule in heaven and on earth through His Church. This is because the saints who reign with Christ and to whom judgment has been committed are said to be on their thrones in heaven. Rev. 20:4; cf. 4:4; 11:16. During this time, satan is bound and cannot hinder the spread of the gospel. Rev. 20:3. This is why, they explain, Jesus teaches the necessity of binding the “strong man” (satan) in order to plunder his house and rescue people from his grip. Matt. 12:29. This is also why, after the disciples preached the gospel and rejoiced that the demons were even subject to them, Jesus declared, “I saw satan fall like lightening from heaven.” Luke 10:18. Nevertheless, during this period, the world will not be entirely Christianized because satan, though bound, is still in some sense able to prowl around and attack souls. cf. 1 Peter 5:8. Of the three, this position is most consistent with Catholic teaching (the pre and post-millennium views have been rejected by the Church).” [2]

However, the Catholic Church rejections for the Teachings of Jesus Christ concerning His Second Coming are very suspicious as always. The Catholic Church did introduce among its many heretical teachings, the doctrine that Jesus Christ would return through the Eucharist and reign through the Catholic Church. Eucharist or Transubstantiation Doctrine is a very strong belief among the Catholic Church that when Christians gather to break Bread, the ‘Bread’ is the real Body of Jesus Christ and the ‘Wine’ is the real Blood of Jesus Christ. [3]

The Catholic Church’s belief in Amillennialism was cover for the Eucharist Doctrine that believes that Jesus Christ would return to be manifest through the Catholic Eucharist. The apparitions of Mary and her son Jesus that have been widely endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church are all seen as pointing to this time when Jesus Christ would return to reign through the Eucharist in the Catholic Church. Therefore, this age is referred to by Catholic Theologians as the ‘Age of the Eucharist’. [4]

What we are seeing is a distortion of scriptures and teaching error concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is a clear sign of a Pharisee Spirit and a Spirit of Error. The Catholic Church’s Head is the Pope and therefore it is not in their interest that Jesus Christ should return or that their members get to know the Truth about The Second Coming of Jesus Christ. So, they distort scripture in order to support their Traditions of Men; as such they ignore the True Bible Prophesy ‘Signs of The Times’ Concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Early Church Fathers…
However, when one checks Church History, the early church fathers before the advent of the Catholic Church did not teach the erroneous Catholic Church Doctrines of Amillennialism and the Return of Jesus Christ through The Eucharist. These Early Church Fathers did not teach a pre-tribulation rapture. They did not teach Mid Tribulation rapture but taught in line with what the scriptures state in Matthew 24…that Jesus Christ would return immediately after the Tribulation of those days…

Below we take a look at some of the statements that some of the early Church Fathers made concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as evidence that the Pre Tribulation doctrine was not taught by them… On the contrary the Early Church Fathers strongly believed in a Post Tribulation Rapture as opposed to the Pre Tribulation Rapture.

The Early Church Fathers Taught The Post Tribulation Rapture…
Below is are historical quotations from the Church Fathers I have adapted from Ed Tarkwoski of http://www.velocity.net/~edju/Pretrib1.htm and Tim Warner of http://www.geocities.com/~lasttrumpet/ . The Dates are adapted from http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html . The bolded italic words in brackets are added commentary by me, Kato Mivule…

However, anyone can do more research on the subject by accessing these sources on the net concerning the writings of the Early Church Fathers… Of course the links are provided for information, research, and academic purposes only…I am NOT in anyway endorsing their teachings…
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/
http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

Justin Martyr [110 – 165 AD], Dialog with Trypho, CX

“[T]wo advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering, inglorious, dishonored, 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,…”

>>Justin affirms the to the True Biblical Teaching that Jesus Christ was to come only TWO Times, First when He came and died for our sins and rose from the dead after three days… The Second time, Jesus Christ is coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords… Jesus Christ is NOT coming three or four times… Kato Mivule

Irenaeus [120 – 202 AD], Against Heresies, Book V, XXV, 3

“‘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.'”

>>Irenaeus points out clearly that the Antichrist will rule for 3.5 years and heavily persecute the saints agreeing with what Daniel taught in Daniel 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and what Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 24 that the saints shall be persecuted…Kato Mivule

Irenaeus [120 – 202 AD], Against Heresies, Book V, XXV, 4

“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.”

>>Irenaeus agrees to Daniel’s 70th week in which the anti Christ will cause the abomination of desolation to happen in the MIDST of that week and persecute the Church heavily during the Great Tribulation lasting 3.5 years…Kato Mivule

Tertullian [145–220 AD], On the Resurrection of the Flesh, XXV

“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,..”

>>Tertullian rightly agrees with the Book of Revelation that the Resurrection of the Righteous happens at the end of the Tribulation when Jesus Christ Physically Returns on Earth in All His Glory…Kato Mivule

Hippolytus [170–236 AD], Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 47
“For this is meant by the little horn that grows up. He, being now elated in heart, begins to exalt himself, and to glorify himself as God, persecuting the saints and blaspheming Christ, even as Daniel says, ‘I considered the horn, and, behold, in the horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things; and he opened his mouth to blaspheme God. And that horn made war against the saints, and prevailed against them until the beast was slain, and perished, and his body was given to be burned.’

>>Hippolytus also clearly states here that the Antichrist makes war against the saints UNTIL the Antichrist is SLAIN…the church goes through the tribulation…we know clearly in the Book of Revelation that the Antichrist is slain by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming…Kato Mivule

Hippolytus [170–236 AD], Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, 61
“That refers to the one thousand two hundred and threescore days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church, which flees from city to city, and seeks conceal-meat in the wilderness among the mountains,…”

>>Hippolytus agrees with the Book of Revelation and Matthew 24 that the saints or the elect endure persecutions through the Great Tribulation…Kato Mivule

Appendix to the Works of Hippolytus [170–236 AD], XXV
“For when Daniel said, ‘I shall make my covenant for one week,’ he indicated seven years; and the one half of the week is for the preaching of the prophets, and for the other half of the week that is to say, for three years and a half Antichrist will reign upon the earth. And after this his kingdom and his glory shall be taken away. Behold, ye who love God, what manner of tribulation there shall rise in those days, such as has not been from the foundation of the world, no, nor ever shall be, except in those days alone. Then the lawless one, being lifted up in heart, will gather together his demons in man’s form, and will abominate those who call him to the kingdom, and will pollute many souls.”

>>Hippolytus also taught the 70th week of Daniel being 7 years and in the Great Tribulation being half of that, 3.5 years with heavy persecution against the saints…The Church going trough the Tribulation…Kato Mivule

Victorinus [- Died 304 AD], Commentary on the Apocalypse, 20:1
“The little season signifies three years and six months, in which with all his power the devil will avenge himself trader Antichrist against the Church.”

>>Victorinus affirms that the Church will have to endure the Great Tribulation just as the Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 24 and also in the Book of Revelation…Kato Mivule

Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book VII, Sec. II, XXXII
“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.”

>>Though this book’s validity, ‘Constitutions of the Holy Apostles’ is disputed, it nevertheless gives clear evidence that the Church in the early centuries believed in a Post Tribulation Rapture and that the Saints would have to endure the 3.5 years of the great Tribulation…Kato Mivule

We certainly see that the Pre Tribulation Doctrine was not mentioned in the Early Church Writings and distortion to this essential doctrine made its way to the Catholic Church and slowly to the Protestant movement and then down to the Evangelical movement.

It is imperative to note that if your doctrine on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is wrong, then certainly your view on events coming to this world will be erroneous and certainly affect and spoil your faith in Christ Jesus.

It is essential that we have the correct and right Teachings concerning the second Coming of Jesus Christ as taught by Jesus Christ Himself and affirmed by His Apostles in the Epistles, otherwise we shall fall in the same error of the Pharisees in which they failed to discern the signs of the times.

Evangelicals and the Pre Tribulation Rapture Origins…
The Evangelicals of today have at large embraced the Pre Tribulation rapture Doctrine that has certainly made lots of folks rich and wealthy through the sale of books and other related material.

It is interesting to note that the most prolific authors of the Pre Tribulation doctrine have always sold hundreds and thousands to millions of books as a popular online encyclopedia quotes…

In 1908, the doctrine of the rapture was further popularized by an evangelist named William Eugene Blackstone, whose book, Jesus Is Coming, sold more than one million copies… The first known appearance of the theological use of the word “rapture” in print occurs with the Scofield Reference Bible of 1909…In 1957, Dr. John Walvoord, a theologian at Dallas Theological Seminary, authored a book, “The Rapture Question,” that gave theological support to the Pre-Tribulation rapture; this book eventually sold over 65,000 copies. In 1958, J. Dwight Pentecost authored another book supporting the Pre-Tribulation rapture, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, that sold 215,000 copies…During the 1970s, the rapture became popular in wider circles, in part due to the books of Hal Lindsey, including The Late Great Planet Earth, which has reportedly sold between 15 million and 35 million copies… Lindsey proclaimed that the rapture was imminent, an idea that he based on world conditions at the time… In 1995, the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation rapture was further popularized by Tim LaHaye’s book series, Left Behind, which sold tens of millions of copies and was made into several movies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapture

The Pre Tribulation Rapture authors have no doubt benefited from the large sales of their books. The Pre Tribulation Doctrine is a money generating machine and as such an industry. Those that push for it and sustain it, do it not because it is a scriptural doctrine but because it sales. It is a doctrine that people especially in the West love to hear…it is an itching doctrine that surely tickles the ears of the listeners. They don’t have to worry about suffering persecutions under the Antichrist but will just enjoy life on earth and then go to heaven while the sinners suffer at the hands of the antichrist.

According to Dave MacPherson, a season researcher who has researched the origins of the Pre Tribulation Doctrine for over 30 years and author of “The Rapture Plot”, the origins of a Pre Tribulation Rapture begun with Margaret Macdonald and then passed on to the Irvingites, then to the Plymouth Brethren, then to Darby and then to present day Pre Tribulation Proponent evangelicals …

“Today’s Pre-Trib Rapture view actually sprang from a crude form of Partial Rapturism; Margaret Macdonald was followed by the Irvingites and then by the Plymouth Brethren during their early days. A person can truthfully say that gold has been discovered in a certain place even if the first gold is mixed with some silver; it’s still called a gold strike. All Darby did later on was mill out the “silver”—-and Pre-Trib teachers have been coming up with “pure gold” since then. (Those who reject this explanation would do well to remember that even Walvoord’s latest book classifies Partial Rapturists as Pre-Tribs. Indeed, both schools of thought flow from the same headwaters.)” http://www.thewordsofeternallife.com/margaret_macdonald.html [5]

Post Tribulation View
The Roots of Pre Tribulation Doctrine can only be traced back a few centuries ago. As we have noted above, the early Church certainly did not hold to a pre tribulation doctrinal view that sees the Church being raptured before the Tribulation. However, it was Post Tribulation in Doctrine and viewed that the rapture would occur at the second coming of Jesus Christ, after the tribulation of those days as stated in Matthew 24.

Amillennial View
With the advent of the Catholic Church as we have noted above, the Roman Catholics held to the Amillennial view in which they believed that the Church was already in the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. The Amillennial view is one that claims that the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ is only symbolic and not literal.

Historicist View
Then came the Reformation Church as labeled by Time Warner of the Post Tribulation Research Center http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/index.html . These ‘Reformation Church’ Christians were largely ‘Historicists’ in their Bible Prophesy view… They believed that Bible Prophesy, especially the book of Revelation had occurred or was occurring in the Church age… It sounded much more similar to the Catholic Amillennialism view…

“During and after the Protestant Reformation (16th century), Protestant Christians held to what is called “Historicism,” a view of prophecy that considers the events of Revelation as occurring all throughout the Church’s history. This was accomplished by employing the “year-day” theory — that the 1260, 1290, & 1335 days mentioned in Daniel and Revelation should be interpreted as years…” http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/index.html

Did Morgan Edwards Teach a Pre Tribulation Doctrine?
In the 1700s there was a young man named Morgan Edwards a Baptist Minister in Pennsylvania USA that wrote a hypothetical essay concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and separated the Rapture from the second Coming by 3.5 years. This view seems to have elements of a Pre-wrath Mid Tribulation View that believes that the Church will be raptured in the middle of the Tribulation before the Great Tribulation starts…

“Morgan Edwards was a Baptist minister in Pennsylvania in the mid-late 1700s. As a teenager and seminary student, Morgan wrote a hypothetical essay as part of his seminary training. Morgan was assigned the task, by his tutor, to write an essay on the Millennium using literal interpretation. In Morgan’s hypothetical scenario, he separated the rapture from the second coming by at least 3.5 years.” http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/morgan.html

However, Post Tribulation Researchers have noted that Morgan Edwards’ essays were hypothetical and he himself did not believe in them totally but wrote at the request of his Bible Prophesy Professor. Morgan Edwards did not therefore endorse a Pre Tribulation View as some Pre Tribulation Teachers claim…

“While some might conclude that Morgan Edwards was the first to proclaim a pre-trib rapture (depending on how one defines the terminology), his view was a far cry from modern pre-trib. The hypothetical nature of his discourse indicates that Morgan himself was neither a pre-tribulationist, nor a futurist, but only hypothesized this scenario to humor his professor! And even in his attempt to display a literal hermeneutic, he sometimes allowed the contemporary “historicist” view to blend with his hypothetical scenario.” http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/morgan.html

Morgan Edward further states that his writings in the essays to the professor would bring a new doctrine… This alone should cause alarm to any serious student of the Bible to strongly take the teachings of Morgan Edwards with discernment…

“”May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? for thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: We would know, therefore, what these things mean. ACTS xvii. 19. 20″” http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/resources/morgan.html

Jesuit Catholic Taught a Pre Tribulation Doctrine?
Many have suggested that the Catholic Church had a hand in the creation of a Pre Tribulation Doctrine. In the early 1700s a Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest named Father Manuel De Lacunza from Chili went to study in Spain and with the expelling of Jesuits from Spain, he later settled in Italy and wrote his book ‘The Coming of Messiah in Glory’… However, his book is said to have been banned by Rome because of his Futurist View and Literal Interpretation of Bible Prophesy…

“Fr. Manuel de Lacunza was a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest, born in Chili in 1731, and sent to Spain at the young age of 15 to become a Jesuit priest. When the Jesuits were expelled from Spain in 1767, Fr. de Lacunza moved to Italy. In 1790, he wrote a book on prophecy, called The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty, which was published in Spain in 1812. Fr. de Lacunza wrote under the pen name, Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra (a converted Jew), allegedly to avoid detection since his book ended up on Rome’s banned books list…Fr. de Lacunza’s book promoted a return to the literal interpretation of prophecy, and the primitive “futurist” view of Revelation. He rejected the “year-day” theory of the historicists. Consequently, he saw a personal Antichrist and future tribulation of 1260 days, followed by the coming of the Lord. He did not espouse a pre-trib rapture, as has been claimed.” http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/index.html

Father Manuel de Lacunza clearly did not teach a pre tribulation doctrine as some folks claim. He taught a futuristic view and a literal interpretation of Bible prophesy as Tim Warner of Post Tribulation Research Center rightly states above. This should have been reasons why Lucunza’s Book was banned by the Roman Catholic Church as it went against their Amillennialism Theology. Those who are interested in reading Lucunza’s works can download his book as interpreted by Edward Irving at http://lacunza.org/ . Once again I provide the link for research purposes only and not to endorse Lucunza’s doctrines…

Edward Irving and the Father of the Pre Tribulation Doctrine
It can be said that the origins of the Pre Tribulation Rapture originated with the Teachings of Edward Irving and Margaret MacDonald. According to Researcher Tim Warner, Edward Irving was a pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Scotland in the 1820s that became fascinated by the writings of Father de Lucunza’s book that he translated it in English. It was Edward Irving who later wrote the “Preliminary Discourse” which he attached to the translation of Father de Lucunza’s English translation. Edward Irving in his “Preliminary Discourse” taught Dispensationalism…

“In the 1820s, Edward Irving…, pastored a Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) congregation in London. Irving became aware of Father de Lacunza’s book, and was so impressed with it, he took it upon himself to translate it into English, adding a “preliminary discourse” of his own. Irving’s English translation was published in 1827. Some of Irving’s early prophetic views can be discerned from his “preliminary discourse,” including, surprisingly, all the key elements of dispensationalism that later showed up in Darby’s writings. Irving, in his “preliminary discourse,” indicated that he had been teaching these things to his congregation beginning Christmas 1825, years before Darby is alleged to have arrived at his dispensational ideas… http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/irvingpf.html

Edward Irving taught about the Pentecostal outpouring and restoration of apostles and Prophets in the Church prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ… It was at this point that Edward Irving embraced the ‘Outpouring’ that was said to be happening in Port Glasgow, Scotland, home to Margaret MacDonald. It was Margaret MacDonald who then received the prophetic revelations concerning the secret rapture of the saints… Irving was later expelled from his church and interestingly formed the Catholic Apostolic Church…

“Irving had been preaching that God would restore Apostles and prophets to the Church, and a great Pentecostal outpouring would come just before the soon return of Jesus Christ. Right on schedule, rumors of healings, tongues, visions, and other manifestations began circulating in Port Glasgow, Scotland, from the home of James and George MacDonald, and their sister Margaret. People came from England, Ireland, and parts of Scotland to observe the supernatural manifestations in the “prayer meetings” held by the MacDonalds…The “revival” soon spread to Irving’s church, with “tongues” and other “manifestations” breaking out, especially among the women. Due to the strange goings on in Irving’s church, and his heretical views on the person of Christ, Irving was eventually defrocked by the Church of Scotland, and moved his congregation to a rented hall, forming the Catholic Apostolic Church. (Irving taught that Jesus had a fallen sinful nature and only kept from sinning by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is similar to the teachings of some modern Charismatics, who see Jesus as the “proto-type Christian”). Not only were prophetic revelations and other alleged miracles occurring in Irving’s congregation, but such “revelations” seemed to focus on end-time prophecy concerning the coming of the Lord…”
http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/index.html

It is at this point that some sight conspiracy that the Roman Catholic Church had a hand in the creation of the Pre Tribulation Doctrine to discredit those who were breaking away from it… However, this suspicion could further be cemented by the ‘conspiracy theorists’ with proof that Irving had become so obsessed with Father Lucunza’s works that he even translated them in English and wrote a “Preliminary Discourse” endorsing the book…

Margaret MacDonald the Mother of the Secret Rapture…
In 1830 between February and June Margaret MacDonald is said to have received prophetic revelation which she wrote down in a letter after being ill and bed-ridden for 18 month. She sent a copy of the letter to Edward Irving and Irving is said to have claimed in a private letter that he was impacted by the Margaret apparitions…

“The substance of Mary Campbell’s and Margaret Macdonald’s visions or revelations, given in their papers, carry to me a spiritual conviction and a spiritual reproof which I cannot express.” – Edward Irving http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/irvingltr.html

However, it was in these Margaret visions that she claimed there was going to be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on a special group of Christians combined with a Secret Rapture before the revealing of the Antichrist…

“Out of the spectacle of alleged latter-day Holy Spirit outpouring in Scotland and England, and the eschatological influence of de Lacunza’s futurist/dispensationalism, emerged the very first documented evidence of a pre-tribulation rapture. This was first articulated in the form of a letter written by Margaret MacDonald, sister of James and George MacDonald of Port Glasgow. In March or April of 1830, after being ill and bed-ridden for about 18 months, Margaret claimed to have seen a series of visions of the coming of the Lord. She wrote down these visions and sent a copy to Edward Irving. A month later (June), Irving claimed in a private letter…, that Margaret’s visions had a huge impact on him. “the substance of Mary Campbell’s and Margaret MacDonald’s visions or revelations, given in their papers, carry to me a spiritual conviction and a spiritual reproof which I cannot express.” “…The outstanding feature of Margaret’s visions was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on a elite group within the Church, combined with a secret rapture before the revealing of the Antichrist. She saw only these “Spirit filled” Christians “taken” to be with the Lord, while the rest of the Church without this experience would be left to be purged in the tribulation… http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/index.html

It is therefore right to state that Margaret MacDonald did give prophesies about a secret rapture and it is from this prophesy that a Pre Tribulation Doctrine was born and heavily promoted and endorsed by Edward Irving….

“This was the oil the wise virgins took in their vessels – this is the light to be kept burning – the light of God – that we may discern that which cometh not with observation to the natural eye. Only those who have the light of God within them will see the sign of his appearance. No need to follow them who say, see here, or see there, for his day shall be as the lightning to those in whom the living Christ is. ‘Tis Christ in us that will lift us up – he is the light – ’tis only those that are alive in him that will be caught up to meet him in the air. I saw that we must be in the Spirit, that we might see spiritual things. – Margaret MacDonald” http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/margaret.html

The Scriptures are clear that The Coming of The Lord Jesus Christ will NOT be Secret but visible to all and not just the Saints but the sinners inclusive…

Matthew 24:29-30
(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:
(30) And 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.

Luke 21:25-28
(25) And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
(26) Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
(27) And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
(28) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Revelation 1:7
(7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

The scriptures above were enough for Edward Irving and all the Pre Tribulation Secret Rapture theorists to discount the Pre Tribulation Doctrine and Margaret MacDonald apparitions.

As Tim Warner notes on his Post Tribulation Website, some Pre Tribulation scholars dismiss any link to Margaret MacDonald’s apparitions citing that she was rather Post Tribulationist… She in fact did only confirm the teachings of the folks like Tim LaHaye and his left behind series…that those unworthy Christians who are left behind endure the tribulation…

“Some pre-trib authors have tried to debunk Margaret’s contribution to pre-tribulationism by claiming she was actually post-trib. They point to the statements where she speaks of Christians being tried in the tribulation. However, they fail to recognize that she was only speaking of a secret rapture of an elite group of saints, and not the whole Church. Therefore, she spoke of BOTH a secret pre-trib rapture AND Christians being tried in the tribulation.” – Tim Warner http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/margaret.html

“This is the fiery trial which is to try us. – It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus; but Oh it will be a fiery trial. Every soul will be shaken to the very centre. The enemy will try to shake in every thing we have believed – But the trial of real faith will be found to honour and praise and glory. Nothing but what is of God will stand.” – Margaret MacDonald http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/margaret.html

In September 1830 ‘The Morning Watch’ a Quarterly Publication of the Irvingnites a denomination started by Edward Irving or commonly known as the Catholic Apostolic Church, published an article on the Partial Pre tribulation Rapture according to documentation by Tim Warner. The article was called ‘Fidus’ and detailed a partial pre tribulation rapture. This became the first publication of the Pre Tribulation Theory as Tim Warner states…

“The official quarterly publication of the Irvingites, “The Morning Watch,” had promoted a post-trib coming exclusively through mid-1830. But, the September 1830 issue featured part two of an article by “Fidus” describing the theory that the seven letters in Revelation actually describe seven consecutive “Church ages.” In this article, “Fidus” clearly articulated the new idea of a partial pre-trib rapture. “Fidus” saw the Philedelphian church being raptured prior to the tribulation, and the Laodicean church representing the less fortunate Christians. Click here to read the “Fidus” article… This article in The Morning Watch is the first (known) publication of a pre-tribulation rapture in Great Britain, several years before Darby mentioned a pre-trib rapture.” – Tim Warner http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/index.html

The ‘Fidus’ article notes clearly how the Pre Tribulation Doctrine was endorsed and promoted by Edward Irving…

“6. The Philadelphian church expresses the period of that preparation, until the Lord come to the air, and be met by his saints changed and risen.
7. The Laodicean church (the only one yet entirely future) is our sad monitor concerning the history of the church on earth during that period of great tribulation which shall intervene between the coming of the Lord to the air and the establishment of his throne and rest in Zion.” …” [p. 510] “ http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/tmw1030.html

However, it is surprising that some researchers state that the Margaret MacDonald visions and prophetic revelations were published in 1861 yet they don’t publish facts that the pre tribulation rapture doctrine was being endorsed by Edward Irving with huge influence from the 1830 Secret Rapture Margaret apparitions…

“The rise in belief in the “Pre-Tribulation” rapture is sometimes attributed to a 15-year old Scottish-Irish girl named Margaret MacDonald (a follower of Edward Irving), who in 1830 had a vision that was later published in 1861…” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapture

John N Darby and Pre Tribulation Doctrine…
As we take a look at church history we note that the Pre Tribulation Doctrine begun to take root in the 1800s and was catapulted by Edward Irving who fully endorsed the doctrine and then John N Darby.

John N Darby was an Irish preacher and founder of the Plymouth Brethren. While some site him to be the father of Dispensationalism, Tim Warner notes how Darby was already influenced by the dispensational by works of Edward Irving and Father de Lacunza since he quoted their works in his Darby writings… In other words the Margaret MacDonald – Edward Irving Secret Rapture trickle down effect did certainly reach Darby…

“While he may have hinted at some dispensational ideas, such ideas were already fully developed in Irving’s 1826 “preliminary discourse.” Furthermore, on pages 6-10 & 19-21, Darby referred to Irving, de Lacunza, The Morning Watch, and even quoted some of Irving’s works, including his “preliminary discourse!” So, while dispensationalism may have been evolving in Darby’s own mind, clearly, these ideas were not original with him! He was reading them in Irving’s and de Lacunza’s works” – Tim Warner
http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/index.html

It is also said that John N Darby did visit the Irvingnites ‘revivals’ in which Margaret MacDonald issued her prophetic utterances. Tim Warner notes with certainty quoting from the writings of John N Darby how he Darby had visited Glasgow and even recorded events that took place at the revival meetings with the presence of Margaret MacDonald…

“In 1830, J. N. Darby also visited the MacDonald’s in Port Glasgow, and observed the “manifestations” in their prayer meetings, as Darby later recalled. Darby described the sequence of events — who prayed, who spoke in tongues, etc. [7]. But, while he noted Margaret’s speaking, he failed to mention the subject of her prophesying. However, John Cardale, who was also present, wrote that Margaret “commenced also speaking … gave testimony to the judgments coming on the earth; but also directed the church to the coming of the Lord as her hope of deliverance,” and was heard speaking in a loud voice “denouncing the coming judgments.” [8]. Therefore, we can conclude that Darby was fully aware that the “pre-tribulation rapture” was a subject of the prophecies among the Irvingite Charismatics. It was nine more years before Darby clearly espoused a pre-trib rapture in his published works.” – Tim Warner http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/index.html

Therefore the whole dispensational movement has strongly been influenced by the Edward Irving and Margaret MacDonald pre tribulation secret rapture teachings and apparitions.

The Pre Tribulation Rapture Theology that is being taught in many churches today is a recent doctrine that sprung up in the 1800s and was alien to the early church who taught that the saints had to endure the great tribulation under persecutions from the Antichrist. It is my prayer that sincere saints will review the Pre Tribulation Tradition of Men and believe in what the Scriptures teach concerning the subject…

Pre Tribulation Theology Generates Millions of Dollars…
However, in the 1900s many teachers arose who continued to make popular the Pre Tribulation Secret rapture teachings while interestingly making huge amounts of money from their book sales…

“In 1908, the doctrine of the rapture was further popularized by an evangelist named William Eugene Blackstone, whose book, Jesus Is Coming, sold more than one million copies.[12] The first known appearance of the theological use of the word “rapture” in print occurs with the Scofield Reference Bible of 1909.[13]

In 1957, Dr. John Walvoord, a theologian at Dallas Theological Seminary, authored a book, “The Rapture Question,” that gave theological support to the Pre-Tribulation rapture; this book eventually sold over 65,000 copies. In 1958, J. Dwight Pentecost authored another book supporting the Pre-Tribulation rapture, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, that sold 215,000 copies.

During the 1970s, the rapture became popular in wider circles, in part due to the books of Hal Lindsey, including The Late Great Planet Earth, which has reportedly sold between 15 million and 35 million copies.[14] Lindsey proclaimed that the rapture was imminent, an idea that he based on world conditions at the time…In 1995, the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation rapture was further popularized by Tim LaHaye’s book series, Left Behind, which sold tens of millions of copies and was made into several movies.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapture

So, we see great pre tribulation teachers of our time make lots of money out of the Pre Tribulation and Secret Rapture teachings… The following are just a few quotes on a few sales made by some of the greatest authors and promoters of the Pre Tribulation Doctrine…

* William Eugene Blackstone… ‘Jesus Is Coming’… Sold 1,000,000 plus copies…
* Scofield Reference Bible… ‘Rapture’ made popular… Sold 10,000,000 plus copies …interestingly the Scofield bible was heavily used by J. Dwight Pentecost who received it as a gift from his mother… [6]
* John Walvoord… ‘The Rapture Question’… Sold 65,000 copies
* J. Dwight Pentecost… ‘Things To Come’… Sold 215,000 copies
* Hal Lindsey… ‘The Late Great Planet Earth’… Sold 15 to 35 Million plus copies
* Tim LaHaye… ‘Left Behind’… Sold 65 Million plus copies [7]
* John Hagee… ‘Jerusalem Countdown’… Sold 1.1 Million plus copies [8]

Amazingly the Post Tribulation authors have hardly made any money… I have researched on sale figures for most notable post tribulation authors and many don’t even publish those figures because they are small and insignificant… The Pre Tribulation Doctrine is where the money is… Left Behind-ism is what sales… Truth offends and therefore sales not…

What the Bible says and what Jesus Christ taught…
Having dwelt on the historical origins of the pre tribulation rapture, I will endeavor to spend much time on what the Bible actually speaks about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and Saints going through the Great Tribulation in the next article. We shall take a look at the teachings of Jesus Christ concerning His Second coming.

To be continued…

In Christ Jesus
Kato Mivule
Uganda, Africa

Notes and Sources
[1] Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapture

[2] Scripture Catholic:
http://www.scripturecatholic.com/second_coming.html

[3] Chick Publications:
http://www.chick.com/reading/books/160/160_12.asp
Catholic Encyclopedia:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05573a.htm
Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transubstantiation

[4] Roger Oakland:
http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c47.shtml

[5] Dave MacPherson:
http://www.thewordsofeternallife.com/margaret_macdonald.html

[6] Dallas Theological Seminary Library:
http://library.dts.edu/Pages/TL/Special/sc_bibles.shtml

[7] Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Behind_(series)

[8] AlterNet:
http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/48821/

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