Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Reply to Dr Grant Hodges

Let me first say that I am not the prophecy expert on this subject, however, I have spent many hours researching the accepted teaching of the Rapture as taught by many evangelicals.  I was taught the Rapture, the Great Tribulation, the rebuilding of the temple, the importance of the Red Heifer in the sacrifices, and all the other teaching on the Second Coming.
What I have found, and it satisfies what I believe is something different than I was taught to believe.  If I am wrong, I don’t believe the LORD will send me to hell for having it wrong.  If I am right, then there are going to be many Christians whose faith will be shaken.
So here goes the short version.
In the 16th century, a new view of Bible prophecy was devised by a Jesuit priest to stop the Reformers from teaching that the Catholic Church was probably the whore of Babylon of Revelation 17:3-6 and the pope the antichrist. (A view still taught by many evangelicals) In 1591AD, the Jesuit Ribera invented a futurist view. He claimed that Revelation would not be fulfilled until the end of the Christian Era.
Ribera taught:
 a rebuilt Babylon, the actual city
a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and an end-time Antichrist.
Ribera is the father of the prophetic views taught by many major denominations today. But Ribera is only part of the story. In 1731, a Spanish family was living in Chili named the de Lacunzas, who had a boy named Manuel. After fifteen years at home, young  Manuel decided to become a Catholic priest, so he boarded a ship to Spain. Thirty-six years later (when the Jesuits were expelled from that country because of their brutality) the now Father Manuel de Lacunza y Diaz had to move to Imola, Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life. In Imola, de Lacunza claimed to be a converted Jew named Rabbi Juan Jushafat Ben-Ezra. Under that alias, he wrote a 900-page book titled *The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty. In it, Lacunza theorized that the Church would be taken to be with the Lord some 45 days before Jesus final return to Earth.
* www.birthpangs.org/articles/prophetic/Lacunza_vol1.pdf
During that 45 days (while the Church was in heaven), God was supposedly going to pour out His wrath upon the wicked remaining on Earth. It was from this Chilean Jesuit, a.k.a. a Jewish Rabbi theorized the earliest mini-trib, pre-trib-rapture view on record.  De Lacunza died in Imola in 1801, and that should have been the end of it. But after his death, Lacunzas views were taught in Spain. In 1812 his book was published in Spanish. Fourteen years later, it was translated into English by a radical cultist named Edward Irving. Lacunzas views could have died there, too, for most in England saw Irving as a heretic. About the same time, an  Irvingite evangelist named Robert Norton met a little Scottish girl named Margaret Macdonald who supposedly had a vision of the church being secretly raptured. Norton was so charmed by the idea that he preached her vision all over England
 (Though not so well known, an 18th century American pastor, Morgan Edwards, may have published a pre-trib rapture paper slightly earlier than de Lacunza.)
Now enters Darby.
John Darby, the founder of the Plymouth Brethren, became interested in this new doctrine, so he attended several Irvingite meetings. In his letters, Darby states that he had come to an understanding of this new truth and made no secret of the fact that he had been influenced by de Lacunzas writings. Darby, however, wasn't satisfied with the rather simplistic Lacunza-Irving 45-day tribulation idea, so he devised a more elaborate scheme. Darby thought the last week of Daniels 70 weeks (Dan 9:24-27) was still unfulfilled so he theorized that the 70th week might actually be a future seven-year-tribulation that would take place at the end of the Christian Era. To make his idea fit world history, he also invented a 2000 year gap between Daniels 69th and 70th weeks. It was all guesswork theology, but there you have it, the true origin of the seven-year-tribulation and pre-trib rapture doctrines! Upon that dubious foundation, Darby and his associates then added a few of Jesuit Ribera's wrinkles:
1.  That a Jewish temple would be rebuilt and animal sacrifices reestablished.
2.  That Antichrist would appear and rule the world for seven years.
3.  That after 3‰ years of good rule, this supposed Antichrist would turn against the Jews, stop the sacrifices, and start the battle of Armageddon.
All based upon Darbys imaginary 2000 year gap theory and the seven-year-tribulation he conjured up from Daniels 70th week. If Darby hadn't visited the United States, his seven-year idea could have died right then, too. After all, there weren't many Darbyites around. But while visiting the United States, Darby met C. I. Scofield. C. I. was so taken by the Ribera-Lacunza-Macdonald-Darby ideas that he decided to include them in the annotated Bible he was working on. Sound Bible scholars of the day like A. J. Gordon, Charles R. Erdman, and W.G. Moorhead tried to dissuade him. Three members of the Scofield's revision committee even resigned because of his unswerving support for the view.
 Dr. Harry Ironside of Moody Bible Institute, himself an ardent supporter of the Ribera-Lacunza-Macdonald-Darby-Scofield eschatological scheme, admitted in his Mysteries of God, p.50: . . . until brought to the fore through the writings of . . . Mr. J. N. Darby, the doctrine taught by Dr. Scofield [i.e., the Seven-Year Tribulation theory] is scarcely to be found in a single book throughout a period of 1600 years. If any doubt this statement, let them search, as the writer has in measure done, the remarks of the so-called Fathers, both pre- and post-Nicene, the theological treatises of the scholastic divines . . . the literature of the Reformation . . . The Puritans. He will find the mystery conspicuous by its absence.
The futurist view, contrived by the Jesuit priest Ribera in 1591AD, was the foundation for Lacunzas tribulation musings. Ribera theorized a future antichrist, a rebuilt Babylon and a Jewish temple in Jerusalem at the end of this age. The Praeterist view, conceived by the Jesuit priest Alcaqzar in 1614AD, claimed just the opposite - that the book of Revelation was fulfilled by the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. Both views were in opposition to the linear historical view that until then had been the generally accepted position of the true church. Those two innovative Jesuit positions succeeded in excluding fifteen centuries of unsavory Roman Church history from the scrutiny the Bible prophecies.
I believe at the Last Trump the dead in Christ will be raised from their graves and caught up to meet the coming LORD and that those who are alive and remain will be transformed at His coming and meet the LORD in the air.  There is only one coming of the LORD.  No stages, no continual resurrection, only one coming at the Last Trump.
As long as this discussion remains intelligent I will answer what I can.

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