To many it is both amazing and shocking to discover that neither the word rapture nor the doctrine/teaching of a "secret rapture" is to be found in any bible translation. Moreover, it is not even mentioned in any "christian" literature prior to the year 1830.
Dave MacPherson, author of The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin, reveals that the "rapture" teaching born in England during the mid-1800's. MacPherson's research found that a Church of Scotland minister, named Edward Irving, was the first to preach the "rapture gospel."
Just how the "rapture" theory occurred to Irving is an intriguing facet of modern churchianity's history. Irving held some eccentric positions on the use of "spiritual" gifts, including speaking in tongues and prophesying. He contended that these gifts were for the present day "church", and had quite a few followers of his radical notions. However, when chaotic disturbances arose in Irving's services during the manifestations of these "gifts", the Church of Scotland took action, dismissing Irving from his position as minister in 1832.
The ultimate result of Irving's dismissal was the formation of the Catholic Apostolic Church, which still exists until this day. Irving's movement grew and became the basis of modern day pentecostalism. The natural evolution of this movement has resulted in the recent emergence of the "Toronto Laughing Spirit" phenomenon which has seduced and mislead more than a few well-intentioned people.
However, in 1830 during one of Irving's sessions before his dismissal, a young Scottish girl, named Margaret MacDonald, fell into a "trance". After several hours of "vision" and "prophesying" she revealed that "christ's" return would occur in two phases, not just one. "Christ" would first come visibly to only the righteous, then He would come a second time to execute wrath on the unrighteous in the nations.
This "secret rapture" was promoted by Irving claiming he, too, had heard a "voice" from heaven commanding him to teach it. (Some modern researchers submit that Irving's speculations of the "rapture were influenced by the Spanish Jesuit priest, Lacunza whose book Irving had translated in 1827 under the title, The coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty)
John Darby, an Englishman and pioneer of the "Plymouth Brethren" movement became caught up in the rapture philosophies of Irving. When Darby heard about Irving's activities, he traveled to Scotland to talk with Irving and his followers about the "secret rapture". It was Darby who became the master developer of "scriptural" arguments to support the theory/doctrine that evolved.
Darby's development of the "rapture" theory has since become widely popularized in Britain and finally in the U.S., largely as a result of Cyrus Scofield's notes in his Scofield Reference Bible.
Belief in the "secret rapture" doctrine has become so widespread among today's "evangelicals" and "fundamentalists" that many sitting in the pews assume that the teaching dates back to the apostles themselves and the Messiah. Regardless of whom one regards as the originator of the teaching — whether Irving, Darby, Margaret MacDonald, or a Jesuit priest - one thing is obvious; the "secret rapture" theory is of relatively recent origin. Moreover, it has no basis in fact nor was it ever a teaching of the Messiah, Apostles, or the early movement begun by Messiah.
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