In a recent article on the Epicenter, we took a quick, abbreviated look at one of the most misunderstood concepts within the modern day church-world: the concept of the "Catching Up" of the saints. Three years ago, I did quite an extensive study through the reading of many books and multiple internet articles, and put together an article on this subject entitled "Where did it Come From?". Unfortunately, however, the computer which I had originally typed it on went "Ker Plunk", and I've had an awful time since getting that article transferred over into a newer edition "Word" document. Finally, I've been able to accomplish that, so let's dig a bit deeper now.
Most of the American Church has absolutely no idea as to where the RAPTURE THEORY originated! In this article, we want to continue to build on this topic by revealing some of the startling, historical details which are behind such a message! Historical details, in fact, that the majority of Christendom has never even heard of; for modern-day Christendom has gotten themselves into the extremely dangerous habit these days of accepting anything that's spoken over the pulpit through a seminary trained minister! As we begin to zero-in on this one, specific TRADITION, which is grossly hindering the church from moving on to "MATURITY", and growing up "INTO CHRIST", we must now endeavor to take a much closer look into an extremely elusive, yet vitally important question: "WHERE DID IT COME FROM"? Where did this teaching, as well as many others concerning end-time events, actually originate? Where did these grossly misunderstood concepts, which are presently being instilled into our young, enthusiastic bible-school students, and then forwarded along to their various local congregations actually come from?
To begin our journey, I must first simply ask you, the reader, a question? Where did the teachings which YOU received in YOUR college or high school originate? Anyone? Exactly, friend! Most of us have no idea whatsoever, as to where the knowledge which we each accumulated during that time period actually came from! We simply trusted that those who were teaching us were telling us the truth, and proceeded onward to learn the material! Unfortunately however, in the Spirit-Realm, we will soon discover that this enormous lack of background information is costing the church dearly! And I do mean dearly! Let's take a look at a passage from one of the Pauline Epistles as we begin.
"For whom among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way, NO ONE KNOWS THE THOUGHTS OF GOD EXCEPT THE SPIRIT OF GOD. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may UNDERSTAND what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in WORDS TAUGHT BY THE SPIRIT, EXPRESSING SPIRITUAL TRUTHS IN SPIRITUAL WORDS. The man without the spirit DOES NOT ACCEPT the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM, because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED. The spiritual man makes judgements about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ." (1 COR. 2:11-16)
As we've already discovered in a previous article concerning "THE PARABLE OF THE 10 VIRGINS", for the purpose of "HEARING" (Spiritual Understanding), it is absolutely essential for a newborn believer to move onward and upward beyond THE INITIAL SALVATION REALM of the FIVE FOOLISH VIRGINS, where we have met the LOGOS (THE WORD, WHICH IS THE LAMP), but have not yet moved forward into the greater dimension of PENTECOST TO PUT OIL IN OUR LAMPS! Here again, in our passage above from 1 CORINTHIANS 2, we discover the exact same concept. The Apostle Paul informs us here, that without the Spirit of God, who KNOWS ALL OF HIS THOUGHTS, it's not that you MIGHT NOT understand the things of God, but you CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM! So, with that said, allow me to show you a quick example of this principle as I take a quote below from a minister who WAS NOT filled with the Holy Spirit. We'll discuss immediately following the quote.
"Another of the 'SIGNS OF THE TIMES' is the revival of what is called the 'GIFT OF TONGUES', in which the recipient claims that he is taken possession of by the 'SPIRIT OF GOD' and empowered to speak in an 'UNKNOWN' or 'FOREIGN TONGUE'. But the conduct of those thus possessed, in which they fall to the ground and writhe in contortions, causing disarrangement of the clothing and disgraceful scenes, is more a characteristic of 'DEMONIC POSSESSION', than a work of the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit does not lend Himself to such vile impersonations. From what has been said, we see that we are living in "PERILOUS TIMES", and that all about us are 'SEDUCING SPIRITS' and that they will become more active as the Dispensation draws to its close, and that we must exert the greatest care lest we be led astray by them."
DO YOU GET MY POINT NOW? Because this man had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, due to the lack of spiritual understanding, he actually had the audacity as a minister of God to include the above paragraph about "SPEAKING IN TONGUES" in the same chapter of his published book which deals with SPIRITISM AND DEMONOLOGY! For those of you who have moved onward and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, let me ask you a question. How would you like to have a minister like this as your Spiritual Father? Anyone? If I were a betting man, I would probably say NONE OF YOU! Unfortunately, however, I must now let you in on a secret that's little known throughout the majority of Spirit-Filled Christendom: HE ALREADY IS! The person whom I've just quoted from here, is one of a handful of men who are directly responsible for teaching the vast majority of the American church systems everything which they currently know (or think they know) about the BOOK OF REVELATION!
Yes indeed, my friend, I did just say what you thought I said! The vast majority of today's American church systems have received everything which they currently know about the BOOK OF REVELATION from a man who has linked "SPEAKING IN TONGUES" to DEMONIC POSSESSION! Let me introduce you to one of your spiritual fathers, church: MR. CLARENCE LARKIN (1850-1924)! If you're like most right now, you're probably wondering how a person who died 88 years ago can be considered your spiritual father; but allow me to answer that. Clarence Larkin was a Baptist Minister who was personally responsible for drawing up the numerous Charts and Diagrams concerning the "BOOK OF REVELATION", which the majority of our current Bible Prophecy teachers such as JOHN HAGEE, PERRY STONE, JACK VAN IMPE, TIM LAHAYE and many others, are currently teaching from. Larkin's book "DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH" is one of the most widely circulated publications concerning Biblical Prophecy of all time. Converted at the age of 19, Mr. Larkin spent the first thirteen years of his Christian walk as a member of the EPISCOPAL CHURCH, during which he graduated college as a mechanical engineer. After a few years in the field as a professional draftsman, he then took up interest in, and became a teacher of the blind. However, in 1882, at the age of 32, he became associated with the AMERICAN BAPTIST DENOMINATION, where he was ordained as a minister two years later. During his 20 plus years of pastoral service, Larkin began researching the area of Bible Prophecy through the works of men such as JOHN DARBY, WILLIAM BLACKSTONE, AND C.I. SCOFIELD, all of which we will soon discuss. However, on PAGE 5 of his book "DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH" (OF WHICH I HAVE A COPY), Mr. Larkin gives credit to the PRIMARY SOURCE for his writings. So, let me now introduce you to the originator of the TEACHINGS which fed Mr. Larkin the material for his prophecy charts: MR. FRANCISCO RIBERA. Who was he? I never thought you would ask!
FRANCISCO RIBERA was a JESUIT PRIEST of the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN 1585! That's exactly right, my friends, you have heard correctly again! Up to this point in our study, we have now discovered that the ORIGINATOR of the prophecy charts concerning what you presently have been taught about the BOOK OF REVELATION was a BAPTIST minister who has associated SPEAKING IN TONGUES with DEMONIC POSSESSION; and that the ORIGINATOR of the TEACHINGS from which those charts were pulled from, was a ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST FROM 1585! Nice start huh? And let me remind you of something, lest we forget. The Bible clearly says, that a naturally minded man CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE THINGS OF GOD; and obviously here, my friends, NEITHER OF THESE TWO MEN HAD EVER BEEN FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST! So, with this now stated, let's take a look at the very first verse, from the actual book, which the two men above have claimed to hold their expertise upon: THE BOOK OF REVELATION!
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must SHORTLY COME TO PASS; and he sent and SIGNIFIED it by his angel unto his servant John°" (REV.1:1)
There are two things that I would like to briefly mention here before we go back to our historical research. Do you see that word "SIGNIFIED"? (Rev. 1:1)
John the revelator wastes no time at all at pointing out both the method, and style that he would ultimately use here, throughout the writing of this prophecy: Its "SIGN-I-FIED" he declared! It's written in signs and symbols. It's written in SPIRITUAL CODE! Therefore, more than any other book of the entire bible, it must be SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED! And what did Paul say in 1 COR. 2:11-16? A man without a Spiritual Mind "CANNOT UNDERSTAND" these signs and symbols because they must be SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED"! So, the question here is: "WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE?", the claims of two, NON-SPIRIT-FILLED MEN, or the WORD OF GOD? Either the Word of God is true, which says that none of these men can correctly interpret the symbols in this book, or Larkin and Ribera are correct by claiming that they can! (SELAH!)
The other thing which I would like to point out from verse one, before we go back to our study, is the phrase "MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS". Let me paint a picture for you. If my wife and I were to swing by the grocery store this Sunday afternoon after church, and I was to pull her up to the drop-off zone to let her out; there's a very good possibility that she would open the door, turn to me, and say "I'LL BE BACK SHORTLY". Now, think of me what you may, beloved, but if two hours later, I'm still waiting in that car for my wife to return, like it or not, HOMEBOY'S HEADING TO THE STEAKHOUSE WITHOUT HER, MY FRIEND! LOL! Get my drift? But what has the church been doing? Two-thousand years removed from when John informed the seven churches of Asia that the words of his prophecy must SHORTLY COME TO PASS, the church is still sitting in the car WAITING FOR THE WIFE TO COME OUT WITH THE GROCERIES! They're still waiting on some horrific series of cataclysmic events to unfold which will RAPTURE OUT the church and bring this dreadful, old planet to its final, devastating end. Something is seriously wrong with this picture folks, seriously wrong; and over the next few articles, we are about to discover exactly what it is! For now, however, let's return to our history lesson.
According to his writings, a five-hundred page commentary on BABYLON and the ANTICHRIST entitled "In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij", Mr. Ribera was the first recorded writer to take and treat the FIRST THREE CHAPTERS of the BOOK OF REVELATION as historical, but then take CHAPTERS 4-19, and push them way off into the future! Sound familiar? It ought too! This is exactly what is still taught to this very day! But here's what's most important to understand about this whole situation. Did Ribera divide up the Book of Revelation like this because he had heard from God, or was there ULTERIOR MOTIVE for doing what he did? Without a doubt, my friend, the correct answer is definitely the latter!!!
Have you ever heard of the COUNCIL OF TRENT? From 1545-1563, a series of twenty-five council sessions were held by the highest ranking officials of the Roman Catholic Church system, to discuss and decide upon several different issues. It convened in Trento, Italy in 1545. One of the major topics which the council fathers had to deal with during these sessions was the issuing of condemnations to what they deemed as "PROTESTANT HERESIES" due to the Reformation. As a result, several reforms were made concerning church, their traditions, and its teachings. During these sessions, as a result of church reformers (such as Luther) calling the Pope the "ANTICHRIST", and the Roman Catholic Church the "WHORE" of "MYSTERY BABYLON", FRANCISCO RIBERA WAS COMMISSIONED BY THE POPE HIMSELF TO COME UP WITH ANOTHER INTERPRETATION OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION IN ORDER TO TAKE THE HEAT OFF OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! That's exactly what he did!!!
By placing a "PARENTHESIS" between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel's prophecy (Don't worry, we will discuss this later) and calling it the "CHURCH AGE", he pushed the arrival of a single, world-wide dictator which he termed as the "Antichrist", way off into the future (thus relieving the Pope of such accusations)! For this very reason, the term "FUTURISM" was coined and is frequently used along with the term "DISPENSATIONALISM" to this very day. (And for those who may be wondering, the subject of the "ANTICHRIST" is much more far reaching than just the "POPE" of the Roman Catholic Church system! In a future article, we'll take the Holy Scriptures and reveal to you exactly who the "ANTICHRIST" is (Stay Tuned!)!) Clarence Larkin, himself, even states that "FUTURISM" is the very viewpoint from which his charts were drawn up from on PAGE 5 of his book: "DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH" (JACK VAN IMPE, PERRY STONE AND JOHN HAGEE also have materials available proclaiming this "FUTURISTIC ESCHATOLOGY" posted directly on their websites, and LAHAYE has written several books and filmed multiple movies on the matter such as "LEFT BEHIND")!
Ribera went on to teach that this single, world-wide dictator would: 1) persecute and blaspheme the saints of God, 2) rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, 3) attempt to abolish the Christian religion, 4) deny Jesus Christ, 5) be accepted by the Jews, 6) declare himself as God, 7) kill the two witnesses of God, and 8) attempt to conquer the world! Ever heard that before? Once again, either Francisco Ribera is correct; or the Word of God is correct when it says that a naturally minded man CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE THINGS OF GOD! We will soon see straight from THE BOOK, that the WORD OF GOD IS TRUE and those who are pushing this philosophy are definitely in error! Many may say that these things are really not all that important, and that the church needs to stay focused on evangelism and leave the BOOK OF REVELATION alone to evolve as it may. THAT, MY FRIEND, IS EXACTLY THE PROBLEM! What they are really saying is: "LEAVE WHAT WE CURRENTLY BELIEVE ABOUT THE BOOK OF REVELATION ALONE", and let it evolve as it may! You see, the truth of the matter is, they have already came up with their interpretation of the BOOK OF REVELATION (RIBERA'S), and they want no one else to challenge it! Consequently, as long as they continue to hold onto their current view of the Book of Revelation, they will continue to say: "Since God is going to catch us away "ANY MINUTE" and "ZAP-ZINGO", make everything alright within the "TWINKLING OF AN EYE", why should we worry about moving on to maturity now? For after all, since we're on this "ANY MINUTE" time clock, what's really important is to quit worrying about bringing folks into maturity, and get as many of the lost saved as possible before the rapture takes place!" IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFEE CHURCH; THIS IS THE EXACT RESPONSE WHICH SATAN WANTED TO HAPPEN, WHEN HE USED THE PENS OF RIBERA AND OTHERS TO DEVELOP THIS MESS!
As we've seen in our earlier articles, "DOMINION" over the earth was only promised to mankind who is "IN HIS IMAGE"! In order to get "INTO HIS IMAGE", man must grow up "INTO CHRIST" by receiving the teaching which will bring his "SOUL" into a marriage relationship with his "SPIRIT", which was awakened by the Father at the INITIAL EXPERIENCE! SALVATION. For this reason, as long as the church-world continues to look at this "ANY MINUTE" time clock, and their "FUTURISTIC" viewpoint of the BOOK OF REVELATION, they'll never see the necessity of "GROWING UP INTO CHRIST"; and if they never grow up "INTO CHRIST", they'll never get "OUT OF ADAM"; and if they never get "OUT OF ADAM", then ALL OF GOD'S PROMISES LAY COMPLETELY UNCLAIMED! As a result of this: a defeated devil continues to run roughshod over those in the religious church system, and the world remains completely unaffected! WHY? Because mankind in the "IMAGE OF ADAM" cannot save anyone! Their religious concepts of "SALVATION" falls far short of the "PRIZE" of getting completely "INTO CHRIST" (PHIL. 3:14)! Therefore, until the wrongful teachings of "DISPENSATIONAL FUTURISM" ARE completely EXPOSED, THE CHURCH WILL CONTINUE TO PUSH INTO THE FUTURE ALL OF THE PRECIOUS PROMISES WHICH THE FATHER HAS DESIRED FOR THEM TO EXPERIENCE RIGHT HERE AND NOW! Let's return to our history lesson.
Along with Ribera and his writings, Cardinal ROBERT BELLARMINE (1542-1621), one of the best known Jesuit apologists of his time, also promoted similar theories to Ribera in his published work between 1581 and 1593 entitled "POLEMIC LECTURES CONCERNING THE DISPUTED POINTS OF THE CHRISTIAN BELIEF AGAINST THE HERETICS OF THIS TIME". And finally, a third Jesuit Priest came onto the scene in 1790 by the name of MANUEL LACUNZA. Lacunza, a former Jesuit Priest, before the "banning" of that branch of Catholicism in 1773 by Pope Clement XIV, revisited the works of Ribera during his era, added a few of his own thoughts, and compiled a three-volume work entitled "THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH IN GLORY AND MAJESTY". We will see what became of these works in a moment. With the origination of Dispensationalism's viewpoints now pinpointed, what we must now endeavor to do is to follow the "PAPER TRAIL" which connects Ribera, Bellarmine, and Lacunza's writings from the 16th-18th centuries, to Larkin's prized "PROPHECY CHARTS" of 1918. Who all was INVOLVED as "Futurism" EVOLVED? Let's take a look.
Shortly after Ribera's writings in 1585, those viewing premillennialism as the proper interpretation of scriptural prophecy greatly increased, and in 1627, the book "THE BELOVED CITY" by German Calvinist JOHANN ALSTED also sparked some interest. However, throughout the 1700's, post-millennialism began to rise as an anti-Calvinistic man by the name of DANIEL WHITBY entered the stage. Whitby was an English theologian and bible commentator who was very controversial at times and tended to be extremely ARIANISTIC in his views. Among other things, ARIAN VIEWS STATE THAT JESUS CHRIST DID NOT ALWAYS EXIST, BUT WAS CREATED BY GOD AND WAS THEREFORE SEPARATE FROM GOD. Whitby believed that the 1,260 days of Daniel 12:7 represented 1,260 years. This view set off an endless number of attempts to predict the return of Jesus Christ, in which we still are hearing to this very day by those who hold such views.
Finally, after several failed predictions throughout the 18th Century, a 19th century resurgence of "Futurism" began as a man by the name of SAMUEL MAITLAND (1792-1866) entered the picture. Maitland was the librarian for the Bishop of Gloucester, a province of Canterbury in England. During his tenure, in 1826, Maitland discovered and published the manuscripts of Francisco Ribera in a series of pamphlets to spark some public interest throughout the local area. As interest arose, he continued printing pamphlets relating to biblical prophecy, including a 72 page 2nd edition follow-up to his first printing later in 1837. Thanks to Maitland, Francisco Ribera and his writings, which again, had only been written to take the heat off of the Roman Catholic Church, had officially been resurrected!
As the subject of biblical prophecy began to steadily arise throughout the British Isles, the stage had been thoroughly set for whom many have called the forerunner to the modern Pentecostal and Charismatic movements: EDWARD IRVING (1792-1834). Irving, born in Scotland in 1792, graduated from Edinburgh University with an M.A. at the young age of 16, and became ordained as a Presbyterian minister at the age of 22. In 1819, he was appointed as an assistant and missionary to St. John's Parish in Glasgow, Scotland. However, though Irving's success as a minister at St. John's was considered to be by many a failure, his missionary endeavors among the poorer classes throughout the area began to grow with increasing popularity. Irving's handsome looks and charming appearance, along with his persuasive oratory skills and compassionate personality, gained him a long awaited invitation and ordination in 1822 to the "CALEDONIAN CHAPEL" in London, which became the forerunner to the Catholic Apostolic Church. There at "CALEDONIAN", his crowds and popularity grew so large, that a new church was built at Regent Square in 1827 which seated over 1,000 people. During this time of growing popularity, in 1824, Irving was invited to speak at the annual service of the LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY, and in 1825 at the CONTINENTAL SOCIETY where he first began to promote his views concerning futurism. It was also there where he met a wealthy, influential banker and member of parliament by the name of HENRY DRUMMOND.
Drummond, whom later founded the CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH along with Irving, was personally responsible for initiating a series of conferences at his palatial estate in ALBURY PARK IN SURREY for the sole purpose of studying biblical prophecy and end-time events. During these conferences, held between 1826 and 1830, Drummond invited nearly every British prophecy scholar presently known to sit down and discuss their views; Irving was included. The views put forth by Irving during these meetings were mainly the result of his studies of the writings of a man by the name of JUAN JOSAPHAT BEN-EZRA, which he had discovered as early as 1821. Irving translated Ben-Ezra's writings from Spanish to English, added a 203-page preface of his own thoughts, and published them throughout the region. Are you ready for this? THIS MAN BEN-EZRA DID NOT EVEN EXIST! The writings which Irving took interest in and published were the writings of MANUEL LACUNZA, one of the Jesuit Priests whom we mentioned earlier! LACUNZA POSED UNDER THE FALSE-NAME OF BEN-EZRA, A MAN WHOM LACUNZA CLAIMED TO BE A CONVERTED JEW IN ORDER TO TRY TO GET HIS WRITINGS INTO THE PROTESTANT CIRCLES AND TAKE THE HEAT OFF OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!!! (CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF FOLKS! THESE WRITINGS ARE ALL PUBLIC DOMAIN RIGHT ON THE INTERNET!) Irving took the bait hook, line, and sinker and passed on Lacunza's beliefs at the ALBURY CONFERENCES!!! As a result of these conferences, the printing of a prophetic journal entitled "THE MORNING WATCH" was decided upon and published quarterly throughout the area, again with the help of Drummond's finances. Thanks to the publications of Maitland and Irving, FUTURISM WAS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE BRITISH ISLES!!!
However, as all of this was happening, shortly after the opening of his Regent Square Church in 1827, mainly because Irving's teachings often seemed to stray far from the accepted views of the Orthodox Church at the time, his crowds, though still fairly large, eventually began to wane. Due to this drop in influence and attendance, Irving's self-esteem, one of his greatest attributes, took an enormous blow. As a result, during a time of internal searching, Edward began to grow a strong desire and taste for the "SUPERNATURAL". This combination of prophetic interest and the desire to see the manifestations of the Spirit became all that was necessary to push Irving onward. It came however with a great price! As Irving began to intermingle his views of biblical prophecy with the teaching of the gifts of the spirit (especially the gift of tongues), his meetings, both public and private, were often marked with what some called extreme and out of order fanaticism. Eventually, due to his excessive charismatic views and practices, HE WAS EXCOMMUNICATED BY THE LONDON PRESBYTERY IN 1830. The following year, the CHURCH OF SCOTLAND followed course as they excommunicated Irving for teaching THE SINFULNESS OF CHRIST'S HUMANITY, a view which was based upon his 1830 writing entitled: "THE ORTHODOX AND CATHOLIC DOCTRINE OF OUR LORD'S HUMAN NATURE". The formations of these views were probably developed do to his close relationship with SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772-1834), who had been a former disciple of UNITARIANISM (WHICH DENIES THE DEITY OF CHRIST). IRVING WAS EXCOMMUNICATED ON THE CHARGE OF HERESY! As a result, in 1832, along with 700 of his members, he established what eventually became known as the CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH. However, his involvement there was extremely short lived, for two years later AT THE AGE OF 42, IRVING DIED PREMATURELY OF WHAT MOST HAVE SPECULATED TO BE TUBERCULOSIS.
Though the ALBURY CONFERENCES were indeed the "BEGINNINGS" of the prophetic frenzy to hit the British Isles, they certainly weren't the last! Besides Irving, another of the attendees of these conferences was a wealthy young widow by the name of THEODOSIA WINGFIELD POWERSCOURT (1800-1836 ). Before the passing of Erving, Lady Powerscourt became so intrigued with the happenings at Albury, that she invited him to speak at a separate set of conferences which she held at her own 47-acre country estate in County Wicklow, Ireland between 1830 and 1833. The first of her conferences in 1830 were said to have included 35 clergy, 15 laymen, and 20 women. Well known ministers of the time such as GEORGE MUELLER, PERCY HALL, AND JOHN NELSON DARBY were included in these numbers. It is Darby, however, that we must now take a closer look at!
Born on November 18, 1800, in London, England, Mr. Darby pursued a law degree at Westminster College and later received his B.A. degree from Trinity College in Dublin where he graduated in 1819 with Gold Medalist honors. Feeling that practicing as a lawyer was contradictory to his religious beliefs, he pursued ordination as an ANGLICAN (CHURCH OF ENGLAND) clergyman in Ireland which he was granted in 1825. Over the next five years, after being seriously injured from taking a fall from a horse, Darby began developing his views on theology and especially biblical prophecy! In 1827, however, he resigned his curacy from the Church of Ireland in protest to the policies of King George IV. DARBY BELIEVED THAT THE VERY NOTION OF A CLERGYMAN WAS A SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST BECAUSE IT LIMITED THE RECOGNITION THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT COULD SPEAK THROUGH ANY MEMBER OF THE CHURCH. Primarily due to this belief, he joined a group of interdenominational believers in Dublin who began to "break bread" and fellowship together on a regular basis for the sole purpose of showing their unity in Christ. By 1832, this group had organized themselves to the point where they had begun various groups and assemblies in both England and Ireland, and eventually became known as the PLYMOUTH BRETHREN. Darby, whom had participated in the Albury Conferences along with Erving, according to the letters of Lady Powerscourt, had become extremely well versed in the developing of the "FUTURISTIC" views of his era. Due to his knowledge of these views, and his theological background, he quickly developed into one of the most prominent voices of the Brethren. His pamphlet "THE NATURE AND UNITY OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST" (1828), which described their beliefs and practices, quickly spread throughout the West.
Though for the most part, the teachings of RIBERA, LACUNZA, AND BELLARMINE were merely being passed along to yet another generation, it was there at the POWERSCOURT MEETINGS that the "NEW KID ON THE BLOCK" came onto the scene: the teaching of the "PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE THEORY". "Publicly speaking", it was there at Powerscourt that the first teachings of this theory became prominent; and from that time onward, it was mainly Darby who taught these views with great persuasiveness as if he himself were the originator. However, it must be documented that Irving himself was also present at the Powerscourt meetings, and it had been reported that the initial mention of such a concept had come from an "UTTERANCE" given by one of his church members during the same time-period as the ALBURY CONFERENCES. The following is a quotation from SAMUEL PRIDEAUX TREGELLES (1813-1875), whom was a member of the Plymouth Brethren: "I am not aware that there was any definite teaching that there would be a secret rapture of the Church at a secret coming, UNTIL IT WAS GIVEN FORTH AS AN "UTTERANCE" IN MR. IRVING'S CHURCH, from what was there received as being the voice of the Spirit; but whether anyone ever asserted such a thing or not, IT WAS FROM THAT SUPPOSED REVELATION THAT THE MODERN DOCTRINE AND THE MODERN PHRASEOLOGY RESPECTING IT AROSE." INTERESTING! Though we will not be discussing the "BIBLICAL ACCURACY" of any of the components of the doctrines of "Futurism" is this article, it is very interesting to note that THE TEACHING OF THE "RAPTURE" OF THE CHURCH WAS NOT EVEN A TEACHING OF THE 1ST CENTURY CHURCH NOR OF IT'S APOSTLES; FOR THE "ORIGINALITY" OF THIS THEORY HAS BEEN PERSONALLY CLAIMED BY ITS 19TH CENTURY DEVELOPERS! (SELAH!)
Darby, more than any other of the 19th Century ministers, has without a doubt been personally credited for making the most revisions to the existing teachings of "FUTURISM". He took the various eras of human history and divided them into seven distinct periods of time which he called dispensations: thus the name "DISPENSATIONALISM" was coined. Known as the "FATHER OF DISPENSATIONALISM", his seven different time periods were entitled as follows: PARADISE, NOAH, ABRAHAM, ISRAEL, GENTILES, THE SPIRIT, AND THE MILLENNIUM. The three things which Darby's dispensationalism added to the then known teachings of "FUTURISM", was 1) His method of biblical interpretation which consisted of a STRICT "LITERALISM", 2) The absolute separation of Israel and the church into two distinct peoples of God, and 3) The separation of the rapture (the "catching away" of the church) from Christ's Second Coming. At the rapture, he said, Christ will come FOR HIS SAINTS; and at the Second Coming, he will come WITH HIS SAINTS. It is important to note however, that THE BASIC SKELETAL FRAMEWORK AND INTERPRETATION OF DAN. 9:24-27, WHICH WAS INITIALLY DEVELOPED BY RIBERA IN 1585, WAS STILL INTACT AND HAS REMAINED AN INTEGRAL PART OF 19th CENTURY "FUTURISM" (A MAJOR MISTAKE!). However, it was Darby's three newest additions (as shown above) to the current views of "FUTURISM" which caused immediate dispute.
Several of the Plymouth Brethren were openly opposed to his newest viewpoints. GEORGE MUELLER (1805-1898), one of the most well-known and respected Christian evangelists of his time, who also housed over 10,000 orphans during his lifetime, was one of the "Brethren" whom held to such opposition. Listen to his quote on the matter. "My brother, I am a constant reader of my Bible, and I soon found that what I was taught to believe did not always agree with what my Bible said. I came to see that I must either part company with John Darby, or my precious Bible, and I CHOSE TO CLING TO MY BIBLE AND PART FROM MR. DARBY"! Darby's views caused insurmountable theological problems both for himself and for those who sided with him. He (Darby) considered all those who would not accept his newly formed beliefs concerning a "RAPTURE" to be "APOSTATE", and refused to fellowship any longer with those who at one time were his close Christian friends. This division resulted in a "MASSIVE RIFT" amongst the Plymouth Brethren and the founding of the "EXCLUSIVE BRETHREN" sect (THOSE WHO BELIEVED DARBY'S VIEWPOINTS).
Though the division in the "BRETHREN" was a definite setback for Darby, the reaction of the general public to his teachings was just the opposite. The acceptance of his two-stage coming of the Lord (the first-stage of which he termed the "RAPTURE") spread throughout the British Isles like wild-fire, and finally, in the 1860's and 1870's the inevitable happened: DARBY CROSSED THE ATLANTIC AND BROUGHT HIS THEORIES TO THE UNITED STATES! The American clergymen to whom he passed on his "Futuristic Baton" to here in the states will be discussed in a moment, but first let's wrap-up Mr. Darby. DARBY DIED AT THE AGE OF 81 IN BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND. HIS POPULARITY HAD BECOME SO GREAT, THAT 8,000 TO 10,000 FOLLOWERS WERE ESTIMATED AT HIS FUNERAL SERVICE. Not only were his followers numerous, Darby left behind an estimated 40 VOLUMES OF WRITINGS CONCERNING HIS VIEWPOINTS ON DISPENSATIONALISM. WILLIAM KELLY (1820-1906), spent several years of his life editing Darby's writings, and credited Mr. Darby as being the originator of dispensationalism. The resulting four-volumes of prophecy books have been largely responsible for the spreading of "FUTURISM" throughout the English-speaking world. Besides Kelly, other noted contemporaries and followers of Darby who passed along many of his viewpoints were C.H.MACKINTOSH and F.W.GRANT; and since their time period, interceding scholars such as W.E. BLACKSTONE, G. CAMPBELL MORGAN, H.A. IRONSIDE, A.C.GAEBELEIN, AND C.I. SCOFIELD bring us directly to the current adherents of his views.
Though Darby gained primary credit for the populating of the any-minute rapture theory through the "Brethren" movement, I would be remiss if I failed to make quick point of its actual origination before moving forward. As stated earlier, former "Brethren" member PRIDEAUX TREGELLES made the connection of the "RAPTURE'S" origination by giving credit to an "UTTERANCE" which came from EDWARD IRVING'S FELLOWSHIP. The question is: WHO WAS IT THAT MADE THIS "UTTERANCE"? Let me introduce you to MARGARET MCDONALD! Who was she? Well, thanks to an Englishman by the name of ROBERT NORTON from London, we can answer this question. As the charismatic revival started in western Scotland around the 1830's, Norton, who would later enter into the ministry with the Church of England, made the decision to travel into the area where he would chronicle some of the proceedings. In 1861, he published a book presenting his findings of these events entitled: "THE RESTORATION OF APOSTLES AND PROPHETS; IN THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLIC CHURCH".
In his writings, we find that hidden within the small ship-building town of PORT GLASGOW, SCOTLAND resided the MCDONALD FAMILY, who were followers of Irving. With mother and father both deceased, brothers James and George decided to turn to the ministry after a failed business venture. Starting initially with a weekly prayer meeting, the McDonalds eventually added both Sunday and Wednesday services which they conducted out of their home in Glasgow. During many of these services, Norton described the atmosphere to be both "EMOTIONAL" and "CLANNISH" at times, rather than that of a serious bible study. In the SPRING OF 1830, he wrote that MARGARET MCDONALD, the youngest of the three sisters (just 15 years old), though sick and bedridden at the time, claimed to have had a vision from the Lord in which she saw a "CATCHING AWAY" of the church before the time of tribulation. On PAGE 15 of his IRVINGNITE CHRONICLE, Norton gives the following documentation concerning Margaret, whom often claimed to be used of the Lord through the Gift of Prophecy: "°THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST RESTED UPON HER FOR SEVERAL HOURS, IN MINGLED PROPHECY AND VISION°..HERE WE SEE THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THAT FINAL STAGE OF THE LORD'S COMING, WHEN EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, AND HIS PRIOR APPEARING IN GLORY TO THEM THAT LOOK FOR HIM." Soon after this reported vision, Darby, whom had personally attended some of these home meetings, began publicly declaring his 2-STAGE COMING OF THE LORD, with his "SECRET RAPTURE" being the INITIAL STAGE. Though Margaret was more than likely unable to attend any of the services at Irving's church in London due to her sickness, it is reported that handwritten copies of her revelations were being privately sent to Irving. It is also important to note, that although Charismatic manifestations of the Holy Spirit were well documented throughout the Irvingnite movement, MARGARET HERSELF WAS NOT REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED WITH THE SPIRIT AT THE TIME OF HER VISIONS! Margaret's views of eschatology became well known by all who visited the McDonald family home meetings, including John Nelson Darby whom was just mentioned. It's supposed by some (though just speculation), that Darby may have purposely waited until Erving had been officially Excommunicated from the Church organizations in both London and Scotland before publicly introducing these teachings himself at the Powerscourt meetings. Regardless of when and why he claimed origination of these teachings, the important thing to note here is that there is documented evidence by Norton of their true beginnings, A FIFTEEN YEAR OLD LASSIE FROM PORT GLASGLOW! And even if Darby himself did start these teachings, the more important thing to note would be: ARE THEY BIBLICLY ACCURATE! For now, however, let's turn to the spreading of "DARBYISM" through America.
BETWEEN 1862 AND 1877, Darby, along with his accredited dispensational teachings, made his way across the North Atlantic as he journeyed to North America. Through no less than five missionary journeys, he mainly focused his efforts around ONTARIO, NEW ENGLAND, and the GREAT LAKES REGION, though he did make one reported journey across the UNITED STATES to SAN FRANCISCO, HAWAII, and on to New Zealand. Darby managed to influence many renowned men such as WILLIAM E. BLACKSTONE, JAMES H. BROOKES, AND D.L. MOODY. Blackstone later wrote and published his book "JESUS IS COMING" IN 1878, which was translated into 48 different languages, and went on to sell multi-millions of copies worldwide. JAMES BROOKES (1830-1897), was the pastor of the Walnut Street Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri; but was also the keynote speaker for several years at the acclaimed NIAGARA BIBLE CONFERENCES, which were held from 1876-1897 IN ONTARIO, and became an annual tool for promoting "Dispensational" teachings. D.L. MOODY (1837-1899), was not only close friends with Mr. Brookes, but was also close with English Evangelist HENRY MOORHOUSE (1840-1880). (Moorhouse, a member of Darby's Plymouth Brethren, not only helped teach Moody how to preach, but he also persuaded him of his "dispensational" views.) It was Brookes though, while in St. Louis, who provided us with America's foremost promoter of Dispensational writings: MR. CYRUS INGERSON SCOFIELD, better known as C.I. SCOFIELD!!!
Brookes, while in St. Louis, had a pastoral acquaintance with a local minister by the name of D.C. Goodell who pastored the "PILGRIM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH" nearby. He and Brookes had often discussed their dispensational views and had found themselves in near complete agreement. In 1879, as D.L. MOODY passed through town on an evangelistic journey, Scofield was converted to the faith and later joined Goodell's church. Within three years' time, with Brookes helping to shape his views, yet without any theological training, the church licensed Scofield and set him up to pastor a church there in St. Louis. What is very interesting, though not surprising, seeing that his past was full of multiple reports of lying, forgery, and fraud, as well as filing for divorce and refusing to support his children (look it up folks!); all of a sudden, without any formal schooling, the title "Dr." (Doctor) began to appear in front of his name! SCOFIELD HAD AWARDED HIMSELF A DOCTORATE DEGREE!!!
Anyway, in 1881, he began to pastor the "HYDE PARK CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH" in St. Louis. After a short stint there, in 1883, he move to Dallas, Texas where he became pastor of the "FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH". While pastoring there for twelve years, he also established the "SOUTHWESTERN SCHOOL OF THE BIBLE" in Dallas in 1887, which later became known as the "DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY". This seminary, FOUNDED IN 1924 BY LEWIS S. CHAFER, has become a modern-day bastion for the teaching of CLASSICAL SCOFIELDIAN ESCHATOLOGY (FUTURISM)! Chafer is best-known for his EIGHT-VOLUME WRITING ENTITLED "SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY" (1947), the fullest expression of "DISPENSATIONALISM" available anywhere on the planet! Seven years into his stay in DALLAS, IN 1890, Scofield wrote out and established the "SCOFIELD BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE" on "DISPENSATIONALISM", which was later taken over by D.L. MOODY and the renowned "MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE"! However, his greatest endeavor was yet to come. IN 1909, with the help of the Oxford University and the OXFORD PRESS, CYRUS INGERSON SCOFIELD took the thoughts and teachings of John Darby, of which he was now very well versed in, and published his first Annotated King-James Version of the "SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE"! Within the first fifty years of its initial printing, over THREE-MILLION COPIES sold in the United States alone! "FUTURISM" WAS NOW ALIVE AND WELL IN AMERICA!
As the Scofield Reference Bible was to many of the evangelical churches, IN 1961, FINIS JENNINGS DAKE followed suit with his "DARBY INSPIRED" annotated version entitled the "DAKE REFERENCE BIBLE" and most "CLASSICAL PENTECOSTALS" fell in love with it. As a result, "DISPENSATIONALISM" further exploded! IN SCOFIELD'S FIRST REFERENCE BIBLE OF 1909, he noted that there would once again be "ANIMAL SACRIFICES" offered for the sins of the Jewish People. Such a teaching is a direct affront to the "ONCE AND FOR ALL" offering of the BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST (HEB. 9:26)! AS SCOFIELD TOOK SOME HEAT CONCERNING THESE VIEWPOINTS, HE DECIDED TO REMOVE THOSE VIEWS FROM THE LATER EDITIONS OF HIS BIBLE! I WONDER WHAT ELSE NEEDS TO BE REMOVED. WE SHALL SEE! Nine years after the printing of Scofield's first reference bible, IN 1918, the publication of CLARENCE LARKIN'S first rendition of "DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH" rolled hot off of the press, and the "PICTORIAL VIEW" of FRANCISCO RIBERA'S framework along with DARBY'S additional viewpoints had now been completed! As a result, like the solid foundation of a well-constructed building, Satan's greatest work as the "MASQUERADER" (articles 1, 2) within the church had been strategically poured into place like concrete!
Multiple millions of honest, God-fearing believers continue to this very day to flood Bible Bookstores, Teaching Conferences, and Movie Theaters, with an anxious hope of catching the latest hand-me-down "NUGGETS" concerning their "END OF THE WORLD" and the events surrounding it. Bible colleges and Seminaries world-wide graduate a constant flow of their latest "FUTURISTIC CONVERTS" on a regular basis. "DOOM AND GLOOM FALSE PROPHETS" on Christian television networks stare daily at the latest Middle-Eastern news events with an attempt to take what's going on in the "EARTHLY REALM", and then prophesy how that relates to a particular scripture which came from the "HEAVENLY REALM", not realizing that "TRUE PROPHETS" take the revelation of the scriptures which are already "FOREVER SETTLED" in the "HEAVENLY REALM" and project those into the "EARTHLY REALM"! The market-wide products such as tapes, cd's, mp3 downloads, and books prove one certain thing concerning those who are currently promoting them: they understand that "BIBLE PROPHECY SELLS" and because of this, they are lining their bulging-pockets fast and furious with the dollar-bills of the churches sleeping-converts!!! IF I WERE THE DEVIL, and knew that it was God's eternal desire for mankind to be formed into "HIS IMAGE" and take "DOMINION" over the Earth, what would I do? IF I WERE THE DEVIL, the first thing I would do is create a teaching of "SYSTEMATIC DECEPTION" which tells God's people that at "ANY-MINUTE" they are going to be "LEAVING" the earth which God intends for them to take over! IF I WERE THE DEVIL, and knew that God's people were not going to be given the keys of dominion until they spiritually matured into the "IMAGE OF CHRIST", I would then initiate a fear within them by creating a need of "URGENCY" within the church. HOW WOULD I DO THIS? I would tell them that anyone on the planet who misses this "RAPTURE" into Heaven would be forced to go through seven-years of worldwide tribulation, during which, a dictator known as the "ANTICHRIST" would rise to power and martyr anyone who confesses the name of Christ. This fear of being "LEFT BEHIND" would cause the church to "ABANDON" their need to grow up "INTO CHRIST", and force them to win as many converts as they can to Christ before the "RAPTURE" takes place! This abandonment will keep the church in a position of constant "SPIRITUAL INFANCY", and will hold back God from granting them their "KEYS OF DOMINION"! As a result, I WOULD REMAIN IN COMPLETE CONTROL AS THE GOD OF THIS WORLD FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION! IF I WERE THE DEVIL°°°°°°°°., THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I WOULD DO. IF I WERE THE DEVIL°°°°°°., I WOULD CREATE "FUTURISTIC DISPENSATIONALISM"!!!!!!
BUT WHAT IF°°°°°? WHAT IF, through the exposing of the teachings of RIBERA, DARBY, LARKIN, AND SCOFIELD that we find that there isn't going to be some "CATACLYSMIC DESTRUCTION" of planet earth, but the "END OF THE WORLD" speaks of something entirely different? WHAT IF°°°°..? WHAT IF, through the exposing of the teachings of RIBERA, DARBY, LARKIN, AND SCOFIELD that we find that there isn't going to be a worldwide dictator known as the "ANTICHRIST", nor even a future seven year tribulation? WHAT IF°°°°? WHAT IF, through the exposing of the teachings of RIBERA, DARBY, LARKIN, AND SCOFIELD, we discover that the "CATCHING AWAY" of the church has nothing whatsoever to do with a "PHYSICAL EVACUATION" of the church from the planet, but rather a "SPIRITUAL AWAKENING" or "CATCHING-UP" into a (HIGHER DIMENSION) of the spirit, where the "SOUL" of man comes back unity with the "SPIRIT" and reforms the "IMAGE OF CHRIST" within? WHAT IF°°°°°.? Let me now answer that question if I may. IF THOSE THINGS BE SO, THEN SOMEONE IS ABOUT TO REGAIN THEIR "DOMINION"! IF THOSE THINGS BE SO, THEN GOD HAS A "SLEEPING GIANT" IN THE EARTH WHO'S ABOUT TO BE AWAKENED: THE "PENTECOSTAL CHURCH", THE "WISE VIRGINS" OF MATTHEW 25! IT'S MIDNIGHT FOLKS! CAN YOU HEAR THE CRY? THINK ABOUT IT°°°°°°°°.! NO, REALLY°°°°°°.. THINK ABOUT IT!!!