Author Topic: The History of the 7-Year Future Tribulation Eschatology in the Church  (Read 2941 times)

Peter

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Evangelist John Nelson Darby penned his "7-year" "future" tribulation "pre-tribulation" "rapture" eschatology in the 19th century. It was popularized in the United States during the 20th century through a reference bible annotated by a theologian named Cyrus Scofield. The teaching of Darby's eschatology remained essentially unchanged throughout the 20th century and it is still widely held in the futurist church today.

One of futurism's own very highly regarded scholars, Dr. Harry Ironside of Moody Bible Institute, wrote of Darby's 7-year future tribulation pre-trib rapture doctrine in "The Mystery Of God" on page 50-51:

"CHAPTER V

THE GREAT MYSTERY OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

Throughout the writings of the apostle Paul he again and again refers to a wondrous secret, which he designates in a special way as "the mystery," or "the great mystery." Other mysteries he treats of, as we have seen, and shall notice later; but there is one that is preeminently such. It occupies much of his ministry, and is clearly the chief gem in the diadem of the truth of Christianity; yet for centuries it was almost entirely lost sight of. In fact, until brought to the fore through the writings and the preaching and teaching of a distinguished ex-clergyman, Mr. J. N. Darby, in the early part of the last century, it is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon throughout a period of sixteen hundred 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; Roman Catholic writers of all shades of thought; the literature of the Reformation; the sermons and expositions of the Puritans; and the general theological works of the day. He will find "the mystery" conspicuous by its absence. Of ordinances exalted to the place of mysteries, as in heathen rites, he will find much; but as to the mystery, which to the apostle was so unspeakably precious, rarely a reference!"


Is Ironside's empty search surprising? Did the church prior to Darby understand that bible prophecy was given to us so that we could each create a detailed report of what the future would bring? It wouldn't seem so.

Isaac Newton weighed in thus: "The folly of interpreters has been to foretell times and things by this prophecy [Revelation], as if God designed to make them prophets. By this rashness they have not only exposed themselves, but brought the prophecy also into contempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He gave this and the prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify men's curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and his own providence, not the interpreters', be then manifested thereby to the world. For the event of things predicted many ages before will then be a convincing argument that the world is governed by Providence."

Regarding the seal on the book of Daniel and the purpose of prophecy Matthew Henry wrote: "That this prophecy of those times, though sealed up now, would be of great use to those that should live then, v. 4. Daniel must now shut up the words and seal the book because the time would be long ere these things would be accomplished:
Those things of God which are now dark and obscure will hereafter be made clear, and easy to be understood. Truth is the daughter of time. Scripture prophecies will be expounded by the accomplishment of them; therefore they are given, and for that explication they are reserved."

Isaac Newton on Daniel's seal: "This Prophecy is called the Revelation, with respect to the scripture of truth, which Daniel was commanded to shut up and seal, till the time of the end. Daniel sealed it until the time of the end; {Daniel 12:4, 9} and until that time comes, the Lamb is opening the seals:....
All which is as much as to say, that these Prophecies of Daniel and John should not be understood till the time of the end: .... But in the very end, the Prophecy should be so far interpreted as to convince many."

Consider the procession of 20th and 21st century false prophets and failed future predictors. Did their failed future mapping help to bring the lost to Christ? If we believe we have the future entirely mapped out, are we likely to even recognize fulfillment of prophecy that's staring us right in the face, if that fulfillment doesn't happen match our preconceived notions in regard to the future?

Since Darby's 7-year tribulation pre-trib rapture doctrine is centered around his understanding of the most hotly debated element within the book of Daniel, and Daniel assured us that his "words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end", then wouldn't it follow that any understanding of Daniel's 70th week (or any other part of the book of Daniel), arrived at by someone living prior to the "time of the end", would necessarily be unreliable?

Alternatively was the early to mid-19th century within the "time of the end", with God having given John Darby the exclusive franchise, on the unsealing of the book of Daniel?

Or might the seal on the book of Daniel have been one that was so ingenious that his words would be unsealed automatically, as a result of the simple passage of time, so that no individual could take credit?
http://www.brotherpete.com/index.php?topic=77.0

The purpose of this thread is to collect and consolidate historical evidence from the early church fathers forward, so that it isn't scattered throughout numerous threads and posts but instead provide a handy reference.
Consolidation of historical information that suggests that any part of the church held a 7-year tribulation pre-trib rapture eschatology prior to Darby, or that even any individuals from the early church fathers forward cited suggestion of such an eschatology, at any time throughout the Christian era.

Peter

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Re: The History of the 7-Year Future Tribulation Eschatology in the Church
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2012, 12:10:06 PM »
There was a 16th century Roman Catholic Jesuit named Francisco Ribera, who may have pioneered the idea of a specific period of tribulation that was to come in the future. His eschatology included a future 3-1/2 year period of tribulation. Ribera invented the doctrine in an anti-reformation effort to divert the persecuted reformer's attention away from their not surprising suggestion that the RCC/Papacy was the prophesied "beast"/antichrist of the book of Revelation. Ribera proposed that the Antichrist was an individual that would come during that future period of tribulation, and his eschatology also included a rebuilt temple.


In the late 18th century a Roman Catholic Jesuit named Manuel Diaz Lacunza, penned a three volume work titled "The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty", under the assumed Jewish name of Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra.

In the early 19th century his book was translated into English by a false prophet and heretic named Edward Irving who titled it "The Coming of the Messiah"

It was Edward Irving that introduced John Darby and the Plymouth Brethren to Lacunza's eschatology.

You can google all of the above names for more information. The above information came from Wikipedia articles on the individuals.



Peter

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Re: The History of the 7-Year Future Tribulation Eschatology in the Church
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 05:39:14 AM »
Presented in answer to the OP in another forum:

"The Lord also spoke as follows to those who did not believe in Him: 'I have come in my Father’s name, and ye have not received Me: when another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive,' calling Antichrist 'the other,' because he is alienated from the Lord. This is also the unjust judge, whom the Lord mentioned as one 'who feared not God, neither regarded man,' to whom the widow fled in her forgetfulness of God,—that is, the earthly Jerusalem,—to be avenged of her adversary. Which also he shall do in the time of his kingdom: he shall remove his kingdom into that [city], and shall sit in the temple of God, leading astray those who worship him, as if he were Christ. To this purpose Daniel says again: 'And he shall desolate the holy place; and sin has been given for a sacrifice, and righteousness been cast away in the earth, and he has been active, and gone on prosperously.' And the angel Gabriel, when explaining his vision, states with regard to this person: 'And towards the end of their kingdom a king of a most fierce countenance shall arise, one understanding [dark] questions, and exceedingly powerful, full of wonders; and he shall corrupt, direct, influence, and put strong men down, the holy people likewise; and his yoke shall be directed as a wreath [round their neck]; deceit shall be in his hand, and he shall be lifted up in his heart: he shall also ruin many by deceit, and lead many to perdition, bruising them in his hand like eggs.' And then he points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God: 'And in the midst of the week,' he says, 'the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation [shall be brought] into the temple: even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete.' Now three years and six months constitute the half-week." - Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 5, ch.25

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.xxvi.html

"Thus, then, does the prophet set forth these things concerning the Antichrist, who shall be shameless, a war-maker, and despot, who, exalting himself above all kings and above every god, shall build the city of Jerusalem, and restore the sanctuary. Him the impious will worship as God, and will bend to him the knee, thinking him to be the Christ. He shall cut off the two witnesses and forerunners of Christ, who proclaim His glorious kingdom from heaven, as it is said: 'And I will give (power) unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.' As also it was announced to Daniel: 'And one week shall confirm a covenant with many; and in the midst of the week it shall be that the sacrifice and oblation shall be removed'—that the one week might be shown to be divided into two. The two witnesses, then, shall preach three years and a half; and Antichrist shall make war upon the saints during the rest of the week, and desolate the world, that what is written may be fulfilled: 'And they shall make the abomination of desolation for a thousand two hundred and ninety days.'" - Hippolytus, On Daniel, section 39

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iii.iv.i.x.ii.html

"But it becomes us further diligently to examine and set forth the period at which these things shall come to pass, and how the little horn shall spring up in their midst. For when the legs of iron have issued in the feet and toes, according to the similitude of the image and that of the terrible beast, as has been shown in the above, (then shall be the time) when the iron and the clay shall be mingled together. Now Daniel will set forth this subject to us. For he says, 'And one week will make a covenant with many, and it shall be that in the midst (half) of the week my sacrifice and oblation shall cease.' By one week, therefore, he meant the last week which is to be at the end of the whole world of which week the two prophets Enoch and Elias will take up the half. For they will preach 1, 260 days clothed in sackcloth, proclaiming repentance to the people and to all the nations." - Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, section 43

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iii.iv.ii.i.html

ExMilitary

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Re: The History of the 7-Year Future Tribulation Eschatology in the Church
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2012, 10:46:14 PM »
Not defending pre-trib rapture here (because I believe the rapture will happen as was depicted against Jericho), but is there anything that prevents these prophecies in Daniel/Revelation from being both a long view and a short view.  i.e.  Is it possible that we have Islam, the False Prophet, etc, etc... with the day=year concept, and that there may literally come one that the Islamic world believes to be the final Mahdi that will deceive all the nations, possibly bringing 'peace' for a short span, but that other parts of it could be missing like, instead of there being 2 literal witnesses (men) that breath fire, it is just left as the Jewish and Gentile believers?

It seems that, throughout scripture, we can find, over and over, things happening that are literal rehearsals of foretelling spiritual truths that tie into multiple literal fulfilments.  Take this for instance, in Egypt, it was the death of the firstborn son that caused Egypt to expel God's nation.  A long-view rehearsal of something to be fulfilled several times over in Christ at various times (crucifixion, resurrection, 1st advent, 2nd advent, etc)...

What do you think?

Peter

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Re: The History of the 7-Year Future Tribulation Eschatology in the Church
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2012, 05:51:27 AM »
Not defending pre-trib rapture here (because I believe the rapture will happen as was depicted against Jericho), but is there anything that prevents these prophecies in Daniel/Revelation from being both a long view and a short view.  i.e.  Is it possible that we have Islam, the False Prophet, etc, etc... with the day=year concept, and that there may literally come one that the Islamic world believes to be the final Mahdi .........
To pay any heed to prophecy in the Quran would be to credit Muhammad with divine inspiration. But since he proclaimed the exact opposite of the whole subject of the Gospel we can know that Muhammad was inspired by Satan, and thus any prophecy in the Quran necessarily false. Let alone that since the world didn't end 500 years after his death Muhammad is a proven false prophet. No shortage of Christians try to draw parallels to Muhammad's Mahdi and John Darby's "the Antichrist", but what any similarity should do, is inspire the Christian to consider long and hard what he has been taught to believe about a "the Antichrist" - or any other similarity to the Quran - which would be unsound at best and more likely the direct opposite of where the truth is.
.......... that will deceive all the nations, ........
Isn't that happening right now? Look at the foolishness of nations that actually helped to install the Muslim Brotherhood, through the sheer stupidity of believing that Muhammad's followers could be ruled under a democracy, when in fact freedom, liberty, the right to self-determination and freedom of religion have been the very antitheses of Islam for 1400 years. Muhammadanism can only survive under Satanic totalitarianism and oppression. The ultimate arbiter of Islam would obviously be the ones that are most reprobate, holding the biggest beheading knife in one hand while being supported by their Quran in the other.
....... possibly bringing 'peace' for a short span, but that other parts of it could be missing like, instead of there being 2 literal witnesses (men) that breath fire, it is just left as the Jewish and Gentile believers?

It seems that, throughout scripture, we can find, over and over, things happening that are literal rehearsals of foretelling spiritual truths that tie into multiple literal fulfilments.
While overcoming futurist doctrine it isn't a surprise that folks tend to look for "dual fulfillment" and such hoping so many people couldn't be so wrong about something so important. That so many people couldn't be stone cold blind to the fact that 1/4 of mankind in the world today, is commanded to conquering the other 3/4 of mankind, and subjugate all people to denying the Son of God and rejecting His crucifixion and thus His shed blood, and instead prostrating toward the Quraish pagan's black stone idol in Mecca five times a day, while praying in the "vain repetitions of the heathen" in the names of the Arabian pagan deity "Allah" and Muhammad.

AP - December 06, 2006 MOGADISHU, Somalia - "Residents of a southern Somalia town who do not pray five times a day will be beheaded, an Islamic courts official said Wednesday, adding the edict will be implemented in three days."
Take this for instance, in Egypt, it was the death of the firstborn son that caused Egypt to expel God's nation.  A long-view rehearsal of something to be fulfilled several times over in Christ at various times (crucifixion, resurrection, 1st advent, 2nd advent, etc)...

What do you think?
Certainly that are "types" and foreshadowing and even dual fulfillment, but the thing to keep in mind is the context, or approach. There are only four approaches to eschatology, because when we start crossing the line, we wind up with a basket full of contradiction. However it should come as no surprise that the traditional historicist context through which you view prophecy now, is not only the one that all Jews and Christians use for Old Testament prophecy, but is also the most flexible for New Testament prophecy and thus elements of both preterism and futurism (15th and 16th century RCC Jesuit anti-reformation creations) may be considered (like the restoration of Jews to Israel).

Peter

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Re: The History of the 7-Year Future Tribulation Eschatology in the Church
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 09:32:08 AM »
Pretty level headed paper on approaches to eschatology though a non-Zionist.
http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2008/05-15.html

ExMilitary

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Re: The History of the 7-Year Future Tribulation Eschatology in the Church
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 10:34:54 PM »
.......... that will deceive all the nations, ........
Isn't that happening right now? Look at the foolishness of nations that actually helped to install the Muslim Brotherhood, through the sheer stupidity of believing that Muhammad's followers could be ruled under a democracy, when in fact freedom, liberty, the right to self-determination and freedom of religion have been the very antitheses of Islam for 1400 years. Muhammadanism can only survive under Satanic totalitarianism and oppression. The ultimate arbiter of Islam would obviously be the ones that are most reprobate, holding the biggest beheading knife in one hand while being supported by their Quran in the other.

Here is my facebook post from last night: "Something to ponder: What sense does it make to depose dictators in the Middle East that are 'killing their own people' (dictators that allowed Christianity to exist somewhat peaceably in their countries) only to install Islamic elements into government that will certainly guarantee the killing of their own people in the name of their god, and will make the eradication of infidels a high priority? I understand that the ousting of people like Mubarak, Gaddafi, and Assad might be necessary to fulfill prophecy by surrounding Israel with radical Islamic governments... but something about our involvement really bothers me. Is our government totally blind to the fact that this is happening, or is it being done purposefully?"

Mike S

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Re: The History of the 7-Year Future Tribulation Eschatology in the Church
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2012, 07:05:20 PM »
.......... that will deceive all the nations, ........
Isn't that happening right now? Look at the foolishness of nations that actually helped to install the Muslim Brotherhood, through the sheer stupidity of believing that Muhammad's followers could be ruled under a democracy, when in fact freedom, liberty, the right to self-determination and freedom of religion have been the very antitheses of Islam for 1400 years. Muhammadanism can only survive under Satanic totalitarianism and oppression. The ultimate arbiter of Islam would obviously be the ones that are most reprobate, holding the biggest beheading knife in one hand while being supported by their Quran in the other.

Here is my facebook post from last night: "Something to ponder: What sense does it make to depose dictators in the Middle East that are 'killing their own people' (dictators that allowed Christianity to exist somewhat peaceably in their countries) only to install Islamic elements into government that will certainly guarantee the killing of their own people in the name of their god, and will make the eradication of infidels a high priority? I understand that the ousting of people like Mubarak, Gaddafi, and Assad might be necessary to fulfill prophecy by surrounding Israel with radical Islamic governments... but something about our involvement really bothers me. Is our government totally blind to the fact that this is happening, or is it being done purposefully?"

Ex, given Obama's favoritism of Islam, I would say it is being done deliberately. The liberals alongside him are in agreement, as they hate Israel and Christians as well. They think they will be able to live peacefully with the Islamics after the Jews and Christians are eliminated, but they are sorely wrong.