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This linked from our End Times page, part of the Basics section.

NOTE: The following is from a very long article called "The Rapture?" by Not I But Christ Ministries. We originally linked to it only because of the history included about the historical and futuristic end-time views.  However, Not I But Christ Ministries then moved their article to another URL (  It was difficult to find it again on their website. Then they removed it again. Therefore, we have reproduced a greatly snipped down version here which contains only the history we were interested in, have left in the conclusion, have left out the bibliography, and have changed the fonts for greater readability.

...We have not written on the rapture before, although we have often spoken on the subject. But recently we have met many people who do not understand how to teach others concerning this great subject. Controversy surrounds the doctrine. Fellowship is broken based on the doctrine. There are fractures within those who do believe in the rapture based on whether the rapture is pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation or post-tribulation. That particular concept is based on the thought that there is a tribulation; however, there are some who do not believe in such. Ah, the rapture is a theology that stirs the heart of many. Someone is right, and most are wrong.

Of the Protestant churches in the United States, the Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopals, Disciples of Christ and many of the other major denominations do not believe in the rapture. The theology is found in fundamental and Pentecostal churches as a rule. While the evangelicals would call the other churches "liberal" today, in their day of founding the liberal churches were quite conservative. It is to the roots of the major denominations that we will first turn. The fundamental and Pentecostal churches are in a minority in their belief.

Rapture is a theological term used by many evangelical Christians who believe that they will be taken out of the earth before the second coming of Christ. The basis for this is out of the Gospels where one is taken and one is left as in the Days of Noah. The evangelical churches that believe in rapture teach the saint leaves the earth. But the proof is that Noah remained and the wicked were removed. Besides, the meek inherit the earth, the Scripture also declares.

Some evangelical churches have even integrated two events into a simultaneous occurrence. The merging of the Second Coming of Christ with the rapture is also an untenable position. It cannot be done.

As Alan Campbell has written: "Such a teaching was unknown to early church fathers as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Tertuilian, who were convinced the Christian church would pass through the great tribulation at the hands of an anti-messiah system before the return of the Saviour. Furthermore the rapture theory was not taught by the great stalwarts of the Reformed Faith - Huss, Wycliffe, Luther (Lutherans), Calvin (Reformed church), Knox (Presbyterians), Crammer or even the Wesleys (Anglican, Episcopal, Methodists) in the 18th century." The first mention of rapture was not until at least 1812, and most sources seem to point to 1830 or so.

The early church fathers never preached rapture, which is different from the Second Coming of the Lord. The word rapture is not found in the Scriptures. These two statements were the thoughts that caused me over time to investigate the veracity of the Scriptures concerning the doctrine of the rapture and whether or not it was true. I hope this small booklet is helpful to you.

Two Schools of Theology:  Historical and Futuristic

The one school believes that most of the Bible has been completed. The other believes that most of the Bible is yet future. The Reformation, which was a movement to change what we today call the Roman Catholic Church, was begun in the 800's by the Waldenese. It culminated with Martin Luther's 96 points of suggested change on a Wittenberg Abbey door in Germany in 1517. He was followed very shortly by other men of great caliber such as Knox and Calvin, not to mention the advent of the printing press by Gutenberg who expedited the explosion of knowledge through the printed page, which never had been done before.

Luther, in his writings, calls the Pope the antichrist and clearly shows why in Scriptures. As one studies the writings of Luther he explains his historical interpretation. If one wants to study secular history you will find that some Popes were women and had children. At one time there were two Popes fighting for supremacy, one in France and one in Rome. If one wishes to study, we suggest the book, Two Babylons -Papal Worship by Alexander Hislop, 1959 or Babylon - Mystery Religion by Ralph Woodrow. These two books give a detailed history of why the Protestant leaders were so against the corrupt church system.

It would shock many evangelical Christians to learn that their theology comes from the Roman Catholic church. A Jesuit, named Ribera (1537-1591) who first taught that Daniel and Revelation were "futuristic" in their fulfillment, began a line of theological thinking that would be expanded upon. The Roman church was losing thousands of people a day from their church as the people heard and agreed with the Reformers. The bleeding Roman Church was trying to staunch the flow of income it was losing and also was trying to distract people from the Roman Church by showing through a new theology that it was not the antichrist but rather it was yet to come. Another priest, Cardinal Bellarmine, helped Ribera in his charade.

The historical school shows how the book of Revelation is and was completed many years ago. The futuristic school looks for a physical antichrist, one man, a seven or at least a three and one-half year tribulation and a millennial reign of Christ. These concepts all came out of the works of Jesuits who wrote to confound and redirect Protestant ire. We are not going to write on those subjects but it is interesting to note that John states that the antichrist was already there in the first century!

Two books which explain why there is no seven year or even three and one-half year tribulation are What the Bible Says About the Great Tribulation by William Kimball and The Parousia by Stuart Russell. John Bray has written a pamphlet showing why the pre-tribulation rapture is wrong entitled The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching. These men refer to Ribera and a Jesuit priest, Lacunza, who did substantial writing in the 1800's to foster the development of a futuristic theology.

The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia has a book entitled The Coming Messiah written by Rabbi Ben Ezra which was the pen name of Emamual Lacunza. This book had a major impact on the Protestant move. The Protestants believed that from the Dark Ages (4th century) to the Reformation was the reign of the antichrist. The Roman church held the idea that from 1580-1830 the antichrist was a person yet to come.

Unfortunately, present day Protestants (any one that is not a Roman Catholic) have preached such silly things as Mussolini as the antichrist, then Hitler, then Kissinger, then Gorbachev (some even said he had the mark on his forehead!). Some thought and preached the social security system was the mark of the beast in the 1930's. Then we have heard the evangelicals state that the ten toes of the man in Daniel are represented by the common market members. As of 1998 there are 16 members and more applying. So goes carnal theology.

The teaching of the futuristic theology entered evangelical Christianity in the 1800's. Lacunza, a Jesuit priest wrote his showing that Jesus must return twice not once as Scripture states. This secret coming was a rapture. This way the saints could escape the coming "tribulation" and the "antichrist." The archbishop of Canterbury in England read the book and the idea became prevalent in the Anglican church (USA counterpart Episcopal). However, recent research by Rev.John Bray indicates that Morgan Edwards was the first in 1788 (Morgan Edwards and the Pre-Tribulation Rapture by John Bray).

Secondly, Bill Britton brings out in his pamphlet The Rapture of the Church 'what is it'? that Edward Irving, who was the founder of the Catholic Apostolic Church, preached the idea of a rapture. This man was a Scottish Presbyterian minister who had accepted the idea of Lacunza and then was filled with the "baptism of the Spirit" and left the church to formulate a Pentecostal church. He, unfortunately, brought with him some of the theology of the Roman church. His church was in London. During a service there a young Scottish woman named Margaret Macdonald spoke in prophecy concerning a secret rapture, although others believe it was another person (according to MacPherson's study).

Another source was J. N. Darby, a Christian man who was considered perhaps as the founder of the Brethren Movement. He was an Anglican and attended meetings in Ireland concerning the secret rapture. Some sources indicate that he was involved with McDonald in some way. Scofield incorporated in his Bible the notes of Darby on various verses, without consideration of his thoughts. Scofield's Bible became very popular since many people could read it and study his footnotes. People read the Bible and footnotes and were greatly influenced in their teaching by the notes -as they are today.

These three men - Lacunza, Irving, Darby - are responsible for the premise of a rapture. But if one has such an idea then other factors have to come into play.

The Tribulation, What About it?

John 17:15 truly answers that - "I pray not that you (disciples) should be taken out of the world, but that you (Father) should keep them from evil." Or consider Matthew 5 which states: "the meek shall inherit the earth," or even the Lord's Prayer which states in Matthew 6: "Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." There are many more verses that show the saints remain, even if there is a tribulation.

The Bible Verses Millennial Teachings by George C. Lubbers on page 237 states the following: "We desire the reader to keep in mind that we are not interested in giving a history of Dr. Scofield's work, dating about 1843 (which incidentally was a time when such heresies as Christian Science, Mormonism and Seventh Day Adventism appeared) but we are interested in some of the basic teachings and constructions, which are today the structural teaching of Dispensationalism in America." There are two points here. First, the point that Scofield's ideas of futuristic thought were new with dispensational ideas (dispensational meaning the Bible is divided up into certain time elements as to eschatology [study of final things]). Secondly, there was much paganism that had been created with a "Christian flavor" - Mormonism, Christian Science and now also Scofield's ideas which had come from Lacunza.

It is important to note that each of these other movements created or were looking for some future kingdom to come. Mormonism looked for the kingdom to come. The Reorganized Latter Day Saints church and Mormons have purchased a lot of land around the Kansas City, Missouri, area for the expectation that the kingdom will be set up there. The Seventh Day Adventists were noted in 1844 for going to the mountains and selling all they had for the literal return of Jesus. Unfortunately, the same thing happened in Korea in 1988 and it was false, as was the book that was printed in the USA proclaiming such. Christian Science taught that this life was unreal and that if you were active in your mind, you could deny sickness saying that it didn't exist. Quite metaphysical. While it is true that some sickness is psychosomatic or mind-induced, you cannot deny its effect.

Lubbers goes on to expose the error of dispensationalism as Scofield presents it. Scofield said there was no grace until Christ. But Noah found, as the scripture declares, "grace" in the eyes of the Lord. Scofield limits 'the "Promise" to the chronological time between Abraham and Mount Sinai, the time of the 'Law giving', he has made it impossible for himself (Scofield) to do justice to the great "Promise" as given already by God Himself in Paradise to Adam and Eve at the very dawn of History."(pg. 244).

Rev. Lubbers was of the Reformed Church and preached over 50 years in the USA. His research is highly regarded and expresses the thought of the Reformers rather than the Jesuit's teachings. There are many that will and can expose Dr. Scofield's notes for their errors. Again most of his notes came from his relationship with Darby and the Irving Movement.

The futuristic school of theology propounds the theology which includes the following: a return of Christ personally, a secret rapture (either before the tribulation, in mid-tribulation or after the tribulation), a tribulation of seven or a time period of two three and one-half years, an antichrist who will rule until overthrown, a literal millennial (meaning 1,000 year) reign of Christ, followed by the release of Satan to rule the world and delude it again and then the lake of fire, the end of time with people either in the new Jerusalem, seen as a literal place, and the wicked outside the city burning. While there may be some variation along these lines of thought, these come from the major theology of the Lacunza and Tractarian societies and the Roman Church.

The historical theological viewpoint is that the book of Revelation is spiritual and not literal since the actual literal fulfillment has already occurred. Secondly, the historical generally expresses the point that the numbers found in the book of Revelation and other places are allegorical or symbolical and are not for literal interpretation. The futuristic school would contend this otherwise.

A Third View of Theology

Then there is the third school that is neither historical nor futuristic but believes that the historical probably did occur and that the futuristic probably will not occur. The reason for such an idea is that these people look for a spiritual fulfillment within people. They look to find Christ fully formed in the individual. Secondly these people believe that the antichrist, the man of sin, and the false prophet are found within each person because of the fallen nature and that each must be removed. The antichrist spirit is the spirit of a man. The false prophet is the soul of a man. The man of sin is the actions of the body.

One of these schools is correct. Generally in the evangelical churches today there is a preponderance of the futuristic school and little credence is given to the historical school. Even less credence is given to the belief that both the man of sin and Christ can dwell in a person. Many saints are not aware that there are other views and believe what is taught without any question. Most saints are not Bereans who study to show themselves approved daily (Acts 17, 2 Timothy 2:15).

It is not our purpose to establish the viewpoints of theologians. An interested student can find a wealth of information on the first two diametrically opposing viewpoints. Our purpose is to discuss the concept of the rapture from the spiritual, which has historical roots from the 1830's as we have shown. While some of the futuristic school would indicate that 1 Thessalonians 4:15-20 shows a rapture as was taught by Paul, this verse has to do with Christ's second coming and not a secret rapture.

The Historical View of the "Man of Sin"

Found in 2 Thessalonians 2

The word "antichrist" is found five times in the Bible and each word is the same Greek word. In the Greek it is "antichristos." Anti means: instead of, in place of, in opposition to. Christos means anointed one. Placing the two together we have the phrase instead of Christ, in place of Christ, or in opposition to Christ. We can conclude that it means to place one in a higher position than Jesus Christ.

There are many deceivers in the land today as well as when the early disciples lived. Generally, there is thought to be one person who will be The antichrist. Spurgeon, Finney, Guinness, Hudson Taylor, Tyndale, Calvin, Luther, Isaac Newton, Bunyan, Huss and Wycliffe all agreed who the antichrist was. These men lived from the 1300's to the present day. They all, after careful study, reached the same conclusion that the Pope was the antichrist.

The Pope's title in Latin is VICARIUS FILII DEI. "Vicar of the Son of God" is the interpretation. Vicar means in place of. The Latin letters of his title carry numeric meaning. Latin Roman numerals come from the letters of their alphabet.

Adding the totals of the three columns we come up with the number 666. This is the number of fallen man, corrupted Adam who tried to place himself as god. How fitting that the number of the beast has religious significance. A man places himself as the religious head of the world and declares that he is the leader above Christ.

V = 5 F = 0 D = 500

I = 1 I = 1 E = 0

C = 100 L = 50 I = 1

A = 0 I = 1

R = 0 I = 1 total of all three

I = 1 columns is : 666

V = 5

S = 0

There are, however, many theologians who discount the idea that the Pope is the antichrist. Nero's name also equals 666. These leaders in the evangelical field are futuristic rather than historical in their interpretations of prophecy. They believe that the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation are for the future and yet to happen. To them only Revelation chapters one through three have been fulfilled.

The men who were listed earlier in this article belong to the historical school of interpretation and believe that most of the book of Revelation has occurred with HISTORICAL fulfillment and that the SPIRITUAL fulfillment is yet to be revealed.

Let's look at some of the facts available. The Waldenese people of northern Italy revolted from popish rule in the 1200's. Their reason was simple - they believed in being saved by faith. Huss picked up the same train of thought a little later, but it wasn't until the 1500's and Martin Luther that the time of reform became ripe. By that time Huss was dead and the Waldenese were practically exterminated by the Pope's soldiers in various torturous ways too ugly to describe. Luther's advantage was that he had a strong king who would hide him from the Pope's forces. Luther himself declared, "If the Pope will not recall and condemn this Bull (popish edict of 1520) then no one should doubt that the Pope is the enemy of God...the true antichrist."

The spirit of truth and light inspired Luther and the others to realize the Pope was the antichrist. When papal Rome realized it could not eliminate the truth, it decided to propagate another gospel, no matter how long it took for its lies to be accepted. This ploy was learned from the emperor Constantine who stopped the growth of Christianity by making it a state religion. Subterfuge was a good policy.

The son of perdition is found in two places in Scripture: II Thess. 2:3, John 17:12. Perdition means: damnation, destruction and to perish. John 17:12 strictly refers to Judas Iscariot when the spirit of Satan entered him. Judas was a disciple, one of the twelve, called by Jesus. He was a member of the faith until his falling away. The law of first occurrence uses the phrase "son of perdition" first here in reference to Judas. It is a pattern that will be followed.

Paul's letter to the Thessalonians uses the same phrase. Who like Judas was in the faith and then became an enemy? Who appeared to show Christian love but denied the power thereof and turned against the truth? Would it not have to have been one who had an apostolic office like Judas who then fell from the faith? The popes of the Roman church fit the pattern as an enemy from within. Each vicar of Christ considers himself to be God in the earth.

II Thessalonians 2:4 has been fulfilled naturally. The popes opposed God and they do sit down exalted above God. According to the historical school the temple that is in the scripture of 2 Thessalonians 2 is not a Jewish temple but refers to the church. The Pope sits in the church and assumes headship. The Pope sits above the "Host" (bread and wine) which is the physical representation of Christ which reveals he is over Christ, according to the historical school.

The futuristic school has been greatly influenced by Scofield's ideas. Not all of the futuristic ideas should be discounted, but the futuristic interpretation of Scripture needs to be separated from Scofield's thoughts. The futurist school, as compared to the historical school, would teach that the temple applies to the Jewish temple; hence they still look for the son of perdition. This idea of the Jewish temple being the actual seat of the antichrist is accepted as truth in evangelical circles, the denominational daughters of the harlot, but the idea was brought forth and developed by the Jesuits. The antichrist will not profane the Jewish temple (there will not be one), rather the antichrist must profane Christianity and come against Christ.

The futurists base their ideas on Daniel 9:25-28. Here they interpret the antichrist as the man in the middle of the week sitting in the temple. They believe that the seventieth week of prophecy is separated from the other sixty-nine weeks and is placed in Revelation for the seven year tribulation. This is Daniel 9:24 from the Amplified Bible:

"Seventy weeks (of years or 490 years) are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city Jerusalem to finish and put an end to transgression, to seal up and make full the measure of sin to purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin and to bring everlasting righteousness and to seal up vision and prophecy and prophet and to anoint a holy of holies."

We can clearly see that this decree is going to take place in 490 years. From the time the people were freed from Babylon to return and build again the city of Jerusalem to the time of the coming of Christ would be 490 years. The only one who could "purge away sin" is most assuredly Jesus Christ.

Dan.9:25 states: "Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be 7 weeks and 62 weeks: the street shall be built again and the wall even in troublesome times." (KJV) This coming of Christ accounts for His life up to the time of His ministry. This 69 weeks is fulfilled up to the baptism by John when Jesus begins His ministry. Now we are ready for the 70th week. Please note that Prince is capitalized here. This refers to the Messiah. Another prince is mentioned later on that does not refer to Christ. The final place that the word prince is used should be capitalized, again referring to the Messiah.

Dan.9:26 states in the KJV: "And after 62 weeks shall Messiah be cut off but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city and sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."And after 62 weeks shall Messiah be cut off but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city and sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." Jesus was cut off upon His birth, for Herod tried to kill Him at that time. Yet, Christ lived. The prince here is not capitalized and this refers to Vespasian who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This completed the prophecy here and in Matthew 24 where our Lord said judgment would come to the Jews for crucifying Him and rejecting Him.

Dan.9:27 states: "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause sacrifice to cease and for the overspreading of the abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause sacrifice to cease and for the overspreading of the abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." The "he" refers to Christ. For when His ministry came forth, he did make a covenant with many for He spoke to 5000 twice, and untold numbers believed and followed Him. In the midst of the 70th week He was cut off, for after 3 1/2 years of ministry Jesus was slain.

The Jews, who had rejected the Father, now had rejected the Son. Jesus caused sacrifices to cease for He was the one and only sacrifice needed. This is why the temple curtain was rent in twain, to show the end of the law and its fulfilling in Christ. He did make the temple desolate, for He destroyed all the customs, traditions and teachings that were false. No wonder the priestly caste came against Him. The consummation of the judgment occurred in 70 A.D. with Titus' destruction of the temple.

When was the 70th week completed? It was completed with the stoning of Stephen. This showed the rejection of the administration of the Holy Ghost by the Jews. Thus, the 490 year period is complete by the rejection of the Father (69 weeks), the Son (1/2 week of the 70th week) and the Holy Spirit testimony through Stephen (1/2 week of the 70th week). As Jesus said in Matthew 12:32, the Jews would be cut off for blaspheming the Holy Spirit for that age (when He was on the earth) and the age to come (the church age), but would be brought back in later as Romans 9, 10, 11 reveals. (Matthew 12:32 "world" in KJV is Greek "aion" meaning age).

There is a seven-year prophetic period in the book of Revelation. The futurists try to tie it into an antichrist reign based on Daniel 9 which we have just talked about. The two are not related although they are similar. We do not wish to digress and discuss or compare these two points of view at this time. Personal study with sources in the bibliography of this booklet will assist in such study.

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Some Concluding Thoughts

Depending on your point of view, the Second Coming has already occurred (historical theology) or is to occur (futuristic theology). The man of sin has already come (historical school) or is to come (futuristic school). Some say there is no rapture (historical school) others believe there is a secret rapture (futuristic school).

The failure of both schools is that the Christian becomes so caught up in the leaving of this literal earth that living the crucified life here is not done. By crucified life I do not mean physical hardships, mental duress etc. I do mean the removal of the man of sin in oneself and the revelation of the Son. That is true evangelism. People came to Jesus because He revealed what they longed for and did not have.

The "apocalypse" is another Greek word which is translated "coming" in the KJV. It is different from parousia which we have discussed and speaks of a literal manifestation in the flesh. It is not used with the return of the Lord. It is used in Romans 8:19 and Revelation 1:1.

Dealing with Revelation 1:1 first, we see that the whole book of Revelation is actually a revelation of the Lord - not a revelation of the antichrist, the dragon etc. Yet, these things are mentioned along with the lake of fire, manchild etc. If all those "evil" things are part of the revelation of the Lord, how could it be so? As the Lord ascends in a people, His saints, He causes all the corruption in them to come forth and be dealt with. Every facet of your life that is not in alignment with the Lord's nature will be dealt with. As each facet of your carnal nature is revealed - whether it be religious, carnal or fleshly lusts - the Lord in you removes it. He comes. This is His coming IN a body (see 2 Thess.. 1:10) and He becomes greater and greater in you.

The world groans for the manifestation of the sons of God - Romans 8:19. These are those who have been conformed to His image, living epistles, handwritten by the Holy Spirit. These are those who have gone deeper than the experience of salvation/Passover. These are those who have gone yet deeper than the Baptism of the Holy Spirit/Pentecost. They have entered into the ingathering/Tabernacles. Their identity is hid with God (Galatians 2:20).

They have slain the dragon. He no longer resides in their heavens. He has been cast down. The man of sin has been removed because they have made their eye one. A double minded man (carnal and spiritual) is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). Their mind is one, their eye is clear for they realize that the work of God in them has caused them to be in His image.

The catching up to be with the Lord is a spiritual experience that can occur during the lifetime of the individual. True, Paul and the others were writing about literal things which would occur. But more than that Paul was writing a spiritual word. A literal interpretation, a natural fulfillment was not what Paul was concerned about. This was his concern:

"My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you." Galatians 4:18

The concern of this ministry is that religion has caused division among the saints based upon dogma that has nothing to do with the Christian life. When the real focus should be found in the development of the nature of our Lord within the person.

At least the historical school considers things "done" and then allows the saint to focus on developing his/her personal walk and revelation of the Lord within. The futuristic school is an escape mentality that puts off until the future the full development of the revelation of the Lord in a person.

"Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them." 1 Samuel 8:7

When the people cried for a king, Samuel gave them Saul so that they could be like other worldly governments. The people rejected the Lord as King in a theocracy for something far less. Religious doctrine substantially removes from the saint the deep development of a personal relationship today with God. Right religious doctrine becomes predominate over right relationship (kingdom developed within).

God speaks daily to those who hear. God is raising up some "sons" (little "s") of God. These are people who are willing to remove their false theologies, their idols, precluded ideas, to worship the unknown God (Acts 17:23) - the god the religious man does not know.
1 Samuel 8:7

When the people cried for a king, Samuel gave them Saul so that they could be like other worldly governments. The people rejected the Lord as King in a theocracy for something far less. Religious doctrine substantially removes from the saint the deep development of a personal relationship today with God. Right religious doctrine becomes predominate over right relationship (kingdom developed within).

God speaks daily to those who hear. God is raising up some "sons" (little "s") of God. These are people who are willing to remove their false theologies, their idols, precluded ideas, to worship the unknown God (Acts 17:23) - the god the religious man does not know.

Bibliography was snipped out.

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