There is already a forum thread devoted to discussion of the "pre-trib" "rapture" from a scriptural standpoint.
So there is no need to clutter up this thread with that subject, except to explore just how it is that the church somehow missed those scriptures that some suggest support this doctrine, over the first 1800 years of the Christian era. One poster even suggested it to be a matter of "progressive revelation" as if Jesus licensed a 19th century prophet, to interpret the 1600 year record of true progressive revelation of the scriptures.
In another thread we explored the historicity of John Darby's 19th century 7-year tribulation, pre-trib rapture, pre-millennial eschatological scheme.
However in that thread, the history of the "pre-trib" "rapture" got a bit lost in the shuffle, among all of the other elements in the dispensational scheme. So let's segregate the pre-trib rapture out, and look at the history of the sequence of transmission, of this popular doctrine. The following excerpts are presented with permission of the author Ellis Skolfield at the link that follows:
"In 1731, there was a Spanish family 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. 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.1 Believe it or not, a Chilean Jesuit, a.k.a. a Jewish Rabbi, theorized the earliest mini-trib, pre-trib-rapture view on record!2 But to continue on . . .
(Footnote 2: 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. But when one looks at the tremendous impact the Scofield Bible had on the western church, it appears that Ribera-Lacunza-Macdonald-Darby-Scofield is the route through which this view gained wide acceptance. A copy of Irving's translation of Lacunza's work is archived in Oxford University Library, Oxford, England. (John Brey, The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching, pp1-12))
De Lacunza died in Imola in 1801 and that should have been the end of it. But after his death, Lacunza's 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. Lacunza's views could have died there, too, for most in England saw Irving as a heretic."
"John Darby, 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 Lacunza's writings."
So other than an 18th century paper penned by an individual named Morgan Edwards, the only other source of the "pre-trib" "rapture" doctrine to be found in the church is from a Roman Catholic Jesuit who claimed to be a converted Jew and penned the doctrine under a pseudonym, that was later translated by Edward Irving, who transmitted it to John Nelson Darby, whose 19th century eschatological scheme was popularized in the 20th century church by C.I. Scofield through his annotated bible. Not surprisingly:
"Sound Bible scholars of the day like A. J. Gordon, Charles R. Erdman and W.G. Moorhead tried to dissuade him. Three members of Scofield's revision committee even resigned because of his unswerving support for the view, but their voices were not heard."
"Albertus Pieters wrote, "From start to finish it [the Scofield Bible] is a partisan book, definitely, both openly and under cover, an instrument of propaganda in favor of an exceedingly doubtful eschatology . . . If Darby and his school are right, the entire Christian church, for eighteen-hundred years, was wrong on a vital part of the Christian faith" Candid Examination of the Scofield Bible, Albertus Pieters, (Union City, PA, Bible Truth Depot, 1932) pp25, 27."
"Dr. T. T. Shields humorously commented: "From a position of entire ignorance of the Scripture to a position of oracular religious certainty -- especially in eschatological matters -- for some people requires but from three to six months with a Scofield Bible" The Gospel Witness (Toronto Canada, April 7th, 1932)."
In the history thread we also covered suggestion of a 7th century paper written by "Pseudo Ephraem":
"The well respected scholar, Dr. Robert H. Gundry, chairman of the Department of Religious studies at Westmont College and author of seminary textbooks and books on eschatology, has recently authored a book entitled, First the Antichrist. On pages 161-188, he gives several quotes from the real Ephraem of Syria which show that Ephraem believed the resurrection and translation of believers would occur after the tribulation. So, this alleged pre-trib statement, if it is indeed such, would directly contradict statements known to be genuinely from Ephraem of Syria who lived in the fourth century."
However even pseudo-Ephraem's paper would seem post-trib:
"This interpretation takes account of Pseudo-Ephraem's leaving the corpses of Christians unburied during the tribulation, putting the resurrection of Christians and their meeting Christ at his coming after the tribulation to destroy the Antichrist, making imminent the advent of Antichrist rather than that of Christ, and utilizing the plainly and heavily posttrib tradition of true Ephraem, who repeatedly portrayed present-day evangelism as a gathering."
After some futurists begin to recognize the historical and scriptural difficulty with a pre-trib rapture, or become shamed by their doctrine minimizing the very real tribulation and persecution that saints are suffering all around the world, some seem to want to pass off Darby's "pre-trib" "rapture" as if it were nothing more than an unimportant frill, to Darby's eschatological scheme. Some even claim to be "post-trib" while also suggesting they hold the rest of Darby's scheme. But where does that leave Christians during the "7-year" tribulation? Running around in fields helping Jews catch lambs and bullocks to sacrifice in their temple? Upon thoughtful review of the eschatological scheme of modern dispensationalism/futurism, it should become increasingly apparent that it becomes even more difficult - at best - without this important component. Now reconsider the history of this doctrine as detailed in this post and what are you left with?
So since "the Antichrist" didn't build Jerusalem or the sanctuary as Hippolytus failed future predicting suggested, will Christians help Jews build their temple during the 7-year tribulation, even though the Gospel informs Christians that "ye are the temple of God" that Jesus "in three days" raised up "the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man", when some of those in the 1st century did "not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom", while "that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away", and that God "dwelleth not in temples made with hands", and Jesus' perfect, complete and finished sacrifice on the cross was the "one sacrifice for sins for ever", so that "the gospel of Christ" "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek".
In another thread I inquired as to how Darby's doctrine can be reconciled against portions of the Gospel that are not open to interpretation. Is it a wonder that in well over a week, not a single futurist has yet stepped up to answer to those very simple, and extremely important questions?
After all, what is Christianity about, if not the Gospel?
How could a Christian in good conscience, ascribe to any doctrine, that cannot first be reconciled with the Gospel? We certainly see no shortage of it in the RCC, but how far from that "making the word of God of none effect through your tradition" tree, did protestant fruit really fall?