top of page
Header -Along Emaus Road -Brown 974 x 144.tif

The Rapture And John Nelson Darby

A quote from the Nazi era: “If you tell a lie big enough and often enough people will start believing it’s true.” David MacPherson: Excepts found online: David MacPherson began the whole controversy with his claims which have so little supporting evidence that one wonders how he could write his book with a straight face. He claimed that the subject of the Rapture only began when John Nelson Darby got it from a “seer” by the name of Margaret MacDonald, who supposedly received it in a trance. · Max S. Weremchuk wrote a major biography on Darby entitled, “John Nelson Darby: A Biography." In it he says, “Having read MacPherson’s book I find it impossible to make a just comparison between what miss MacDonald ‘prophesied’ and what Darby taught. It appears that the wish was the father of the idea.” · Darby had already written out his pre-tribulation Rapture view in January 1827, three years prior to the 1830 MacDonald "prophecy." · Darby’s belief came from Scripture, not from a girl’s prophecy. He did not get his eschatological views from men, but rather from the doctrine of the church. His views were gradually formed and theologically and Biblically based rather than derived from any religious group or MacDonald prophecy. · Darby went to a meeting being held where MacDonald gave her "prophecy," and he concluded that what was going on there was “demonic.” He would not have borrowed an idea from a source that he clearly thought was demonic.“ · Darby’s understanding of the pre-trib Rapture was the product of the development of his personal interactive thoughts with the text of Scripture as he, his friends, and dispensationalists have long contended. · Darby’s earliest published essay on Biblical prophecy was in 1829. In his earliest of essays, he expounds upon the Rapture as the Church’s hope, not the Church’s purification during the Tribulation as MacDonald claimed. · Darby’s conclusion concerning the pre-trib Rapture came when he saw clearly the distinction between Israel and the Church, two separate dispensations. And if that's not enough, Margaret MacDonald's view was actually post-tribulation. MacDonald’s vision was in 1830, three years after Darby’s conclusions about the Rapture. MacDonald’s statements show her to hold a POST-trib position. She said of the Tribulation: “…being the fiery trial which is to try us …for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus.” She looked for the Church being purged by the Antichrist. This is not pre-trib belief. Pre-trib doctrine shows the Church being removed BEFORE THE REVEALING of the Antichrist. "And now you know what is restraining, that he (the Antichrist) may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. AND THEN the lawless one will be revealed…” 2nd Thessalonians 2:6-8 It is the church that is restraining lawlessness and the Antichrist is not revealed until the church is taken out of the way. John Bray Bray was an anti-Rapture believer, but he said that Margaret MacDonald was teaching a single, post-tribulation coming of our Lord Jesus. This contradicts the Rapture doctrine which teaches a two-staged event: first, Christ comes for his Church and second, seven years later his return to earth. Margaret MacDonald was post-trib, NOT pre-trib. Roy A. Huebner, Brethren writer Huebner wrote that Darby first began to believe in the pre-trib Rapture and develop his dispensational thinking while convalescing from a riding accident during December 1826 and January 1827. Huebner wrote of Darby’s pre-trib and dispensational thoughts: · He saw from Isaiah 32 that there was a different dispensation coming …that Israel and the Church were distinct. · During his convalescence, Darby learned that he ”ought daily to expect his Lord’s return.” Darby also saw a period of time between the Rapture and the second coming, which supports the doctrine of the pre-trib Rapture. · Darby himself said in 1857 that he first started understanding things relating to the pre-tribulation Rapture “thirty years ago,” so that would be January 1827. · Darby had already understood those truths upon which the pre-tribulation Rapture hinges. He claimed that the doctrine virtually jumped out of the pages of Scripture once he accepted and consistently maintained the distinction between Israel and the church. · Huebner considers MacPherson’s charges as “using slander that John Darby took the pretribulation Rapture from those very opposing, demon-inspired utterances.” It was a very obvious Satanic attempt to turn the hearts of believers away from the blessed hope given to them in the pages of holy writ. MORE: The Rapture


bottom of page